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Nevada reimposes indoor mask mandate in high-transmission areas

Gov. Steve Sisolak late Tuesday imposed a new mandate that requires everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks indoors in public places in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission, including Clark County.

The governor’s directive aligns with a new recommendation earlier in the day from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The directive includes a three-day grace period that gives businesses and residents until Friday to comply.

“Businesses and residents in counties with substantial or high transmission are strongly urged to adopt the changes as soon as possible,” states a news release from the governor’s office.

Twelve of Nevada’s 17 counties are currently considered to have substantial or high transmission. They include: Carson, Churchill, Clark, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Washoe and White Pine, the governor’s office said, citing CDC data.

The CDC’s new guidance also recommended universal masking for kindergarten through twelve grade students, teachers and staff, regardless of vaccination status. However, the state directive stops short of immediately making this a requirement for Nevada schools. Instead, according to the governor’s office, conversations will continue with school district leaders centering on “the need to keep our children and educators safe. …”

Meanwhile, the Clark County School District announced earlier Tuesday that it would be imposing a mask mandate to align with CDC recommendations.

The governor’s office said that the indoor mask mandate does not apply to participants in certain activities or events, including athletes, performers and musicians.

The mandate comes at a time when cases and hospitalizations are climbing in Nevada, especially in Clark County. The delta variant, a more infectious strain of the coronavirus, accounts for the majority of the new cases in Nevada. New evidence suggests that it is more likely to infect vaccinated individuals than other strains.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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