WENDOVER, Utah — Twelve Nevada counties are now under a mask mandate as COVID-19 cases continue to soar in many parts of the country. Wendover, a popular destination for Utahns, is one of the many places impacted by the new mandate.
“It feels like Groundhog Day honestly," said West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona. "I think everyone was so excited about going back to normal, and the mask mandate coming back makes it feel like we are in March of last year again.”
Wendover relies heavily on tourism, with its casinos being a large draw for visitors. Corona said he understands why the Gov. Steve Sisolak reinstated the mask mandate and hopes tourist will be respectful of the new rule.
“Please wear a mask to any of our businesses and don’t give a hard time to any employees or business owners. This was a decision that wasn’t made by them,” he said.
All the local casinos are also required to enforce the mask mandate.
It is frustrating to have the mandate reinstated, but everyone needs to do their part to keep each other safe, Keith Frayne, general manager of the Wendover Nugget Casino said.
“While none of us want to go through this again, we are all about making sure everyone is safe. So, we are all on board with this,” he said.
The casino did keep all their COVID-19 masking signage, Frayne said, although it still did cost a couple thousand dollars to make a few new signs across their properties.
“We weren’t sure, just in case anything would come back, and we just held on to everything just to make sure we are prepared for situations like this one again, unfortunately,” said Frayne of keeping COVID-19 signage.
News of the mandate came with mixed reactions from tourists. Jennie Kendall is visiting from Washington and wasn’t bothered by having to put a mask on.
“In fact, in a lot of places I would rather have it on because even though I am vaccinated that doesn’t mean I can’t get it and maybe give it to my grandkids at home,” she said.
Not everyone was as accepting of the new rules. Ester Halterman is in town from Cedar City visiting her son and wasn't happy with having to wear a mask again and she doesn’t agree with the mandate.
“You can’t breathe in it and if you are a smoker, I mean to take a drag of a cigarette, put your masks up, take your mask down to even smoke or to drink or anything, you have to keep moving back and forth back and forth and it’s a joke,” she said.
As of right now, there are no further restrictions in place and Corona said he hopes this mandate wont stick around for long.
“As more people continue to get vaccinated and the state urges people to get vaccinated, as we urge people to get vaccinated, I think we will see restrictions start to lift again. I hope that we don’t go the other way,” he said.