A casino in Louisiana is allowing customers to come onto the property without COVID-19 masks. This includes the gaming, dining, and hotel areas.
L’Auberge Baton Rouge announced on its Facebook page this week that masks are no longer required at the resort.
“We appreciate your patience during this time and hope to see you soon,” the Facebook post says.
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) ended the statewide mask mandate this week. Businesses can still require masks.
The riverboat casino, with a 205-room hotel, is the largest in the area. It is on the Mississippi River south of downtown Baton Rouge and the Louisiana State University campus.
The 74,000-square-foot casino includes 1,400 slot machines and more than 50 table games. It is built on a barge, but technically is a riverboat.
Louisiana is home to 13 riverboat casinos, one land-based hotel-casino in New Orleans, and four racinos. Two licensed riverboat casinos that were in operation last year are not open this year. A riverboat casino in the Shreveport-Bossier City area was closed in 2020 with no plans to reopen. A second riverboat in Lake Charles was damaged in a hurricane and is closed temporarily.
‘Virus Still Here’
A telephone operator at L’Auberge Baton Rouge told Casino.org on Friday that employees are required to wear masks. The resort’s website states that valet attendants will wear face masks and gloves “and carry antimicrobial hand wipes to wipe down the steering wheel prior to parking and retrieving vehicles.”
By Friday evening, the resort’s Facebook post regarding masks had about 600 “likes” and more than 181 user comments.
One Facebook user identified as Latonia Hubbard-Williams wrote, “Still wearing mine. Virus still here.”
A user identified as Cindy Smith wrote, “Yayyy! Let’s plan a trip.”
Governor Urges Caution
The governor said in a statement on his website that he was lifting the mask mandate because of the increased vaccine supply in Louisiana and the improvement in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The policy went into effect on Wednesday.
More than 25 percent of Louisiana resident are fully vaccinated, according to the governor’s website. This includes two-thirds of residents 65 and older.
Edwards said local authorities and business owners can set their own mask policies. Masks are still required statewide “on public transit and in state government buildings, K-12 schools, early childhood education centers, colleges and universities, and healthcare facilities,” the website states.
We know masks work,” Edwards said. “The science is clear, and we’ve seen the positive impact in our own state.”
The governor stressed that this change does not mean the pandemic has ended. Edwards said he will exercise caution in his approach to mask-wearing.
“Louisianans should respect each other and businesses and places where masks will be required as we move into a new phase of slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” he said. “I will continue to wear a mask in government buildings and in public, especially when I do not know if someone around me has been vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to do this as well.”
Casino patrons and employees in Mississippi, which borders Louisiana to the east, were allowed this week to begin entering casinos without wearing masks.
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