By Megan Messerly/The Nevada Independent

Fully vaccinated people will soon be able to shed their masks inside some of Nevada’s largest sports and entertainment venues under a new policy announced by Gov.  on Monday.

The state’s largest event venues will have two options: They can choose to continue operating as they have been, requiring masks for vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons alike; or, they can require all guests to present proof at the door that they are at least partially vaccinated against the virus and allow fully vaccinated people to drop their masks once inside.

Sisolak framed the new policy as an attempt to leverage private event operators and the lure of attending a sporting event or concert in an effort to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. While the number of shots in arms has ticked up in recent weeks, the state ranks 32nd in the nation for fully vaccinated residents, with less than half of its residents considered fully protected from COVID-19.

“My goal with today’s new policy choice is to provide the private sector more options that come with a reward for the public: the ability to take off their mask during a concert or a game if, and only if, they are fully vaccinated,” Sisolak said at a press conference announcing the policy. “We hope that this helps get more Nevadans vaccinated so that we can get out of this pandemic.”

To be eligible for the new policy, venues must have a fixed seating capacity of 4,000 people or more, require tickets or registration for entry and maintain access control preventing unticketed people from attending. Additionally, venues will be required to verify attendees’ vaccination status in an “accurate, effective and reliable” manner, train a “sufficient” number of staff to “adequately” implement the program and establish a system to distinguish fully and partially vaccinated attendees in order to enforce the mask mandate for the latter group, Sisolak said.

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