Hawaii health officials raise concerns about travel to Las Vegas as coronavirus cases spike

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s favorite destination, Las Vegas, is also seeing a spike in COVID cases and has started a new mask mandate for workers inside casinos. State officials in Hawaii are urging unvaccinated residents to hold off on traveling to Sin City.

Health officials at Las Vegas initiated a mask mandate just after midnight Thursday, July 22, for all workers at indoor public spaces, which include the casinos. The mandate also applies to everyone, regardless of their vaccination status.

“So you can see that in Vegas they understand that there’s a danger, we’re hitting a danger point where at some point we’re gonna have a real issue,” said Jerry Agrusa, UH Travel Industry Management Professor.

This comes as the 7-day average in Las Vegas stands at 758 cases per day with a positivity rate of 14%. Officials stopped short of enforcing a mask mandate for visitors.

A spokesman for Boyd Gaming, which owns The Cal and Fremont in downtown Las Vegas, said the company is urging all guests to wear a mask, especially if they’re not vaccinated. Nobody is checking for proof of vaccination, however.

Kauai’s mayor has already advised against going to Las Vegas. The lieutenant governor echoes the sentiment for all Hawaii residents who are not vaccinated.

“If you’re not vaccinated, you’re coming back with COVID, I have to tell you. So you’ll give it to your children, you’ll give it to your wife, that whole thing about what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, not with COVID,” said Green.

Travel to Las Vegas has jumped significantly since casinos fully re-opened in June with no restrictions, just in time for summer break.

“I was getting all excited and I was oh yeah we get to go, we haven’t been there in a while,” said Darlene Daniel.

She and her husband are booked to fly out in August. They are both fully vaccinated, but she said they will cancel the trip if the numbers keep spiking in the next week.

“The one thing I’m most afraid of is catching it and bringing it home and passing it home to people here without me knowing,” she said.

“Las Vegas has enough virus to go around. So I would say, I love that place for, you know, an occasional weekend away. But there’s nothing that could make me go to a hotbed of COVID without a vaccination,” said Green.

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