BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - When casinos first reopened, wearing masks was optional for guests, but change is on the way, at least for two Biloxi casinos.
Casino executives with both MGM Resorts, the parent company to Beau Rivage, and Caesars, the parent company to Harrah’s, say the coronavirus is still a threat, and this mandate is necessary to protect everybody.
Harrah’s began mandatory requirements on Wednesday, and it came as a surprise to Florida guest Sherrill Summers, who was here before the new rules began.
“All of the people that have been in the hotel for the last two days with us - if there’s somebody in there that’s sick, they’ve all been exposed. What good is that? It’s like closing the barn door after the cow has left,” she said.
She also said the guests need to be coached on how to wear the masks if it is to be effective.
“If you go into the hotel, you’ll see people with them way below their nose,” Summers said. “Not the staff. The staff has done a very good job of keeping them way up here (above the nose).”
For others, consistency is necessary.
“Germs are going to be spread,” said Tanner Fite, a former Coast resident. “So, regardless if people are wearing masks or not - and even sometimes you’ll see people pull the mask down to make a statement. So, If they’re going to wear a mask, I think they should always be on.”
Visitor Kent Srisavanh also is concerned about issues with enforcing the rules.
“It’s hard to manage in a casino,” he said. “A grocery store, it seems a little more understandable and easier to kind of deal with. But in a casino a lot more complicated to not spread it, you know?”
Beau Rivage will implement its new mandatory mask rule Friday at 6 a.m., and guest Luke Thornton of Oklahoma is OK with it.
“We normally wear a mask,” he said. “We don’t wear them outside, or whatever, but I’m fine with it. I think it protects the other person more than it does you.”
Even if all the casinos make it a rule, that’s not going to keep Summers from coming back because she doesn’t like the alternative.
“It is what it is,” she said. “You comply or you stay at home.”