Nevada Dems Call for Statewide Public Mask Mandate

Party chair says state 'rushed a return to normalcy,' cannot 'resume business as usual'

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July 22, 2021

The Nevada Democratic Party on Thursday called for the re-implementation of a statewide mask mandate.

Party chair Judith Whitmer urged leaders across the state to issue a "full public mask mandate in order to fully protect Nevadans" in a Thursday afternoon statement. The move came days after county officials in the Las Vegas area passed a mandate requiring all employees to wear masks while working indoors, which Whitmer deemed to be inadequate. 

"Though it may have seemed we were approaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear now that we rushed a return to normalcy," Whitmer said. "We encourage the Clark County Commissioners and those in power across the state to re-implement a full public mask mandate in order to fully protect Nevadans.… Nevada's vaccination rate must be improved before we can resume business as usual in a safe way."

The party's position is at odds with the Centers for Disease Control. Just hours before Whitmer issued the statement, CDC director Rochelle Walensky defended the agency's guidelines, which assert that masking is unnecessary for vaccinated individuals in most indoor settings.

"Our guidance has been clear since we put it out several months ago," Walensky told reporters Thursday, adding that those who are vaccinated have "exceptional levels" of protection from the virus.

Whitmer, a vocal supporter of socialist senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), took control of the party in March as part of a shake-up that saw progressives elect Democratic Socialists of America-backed candidates to all leadership positions. Days before Whitmer's election, staffers transferred roughly $450,000 in party funds to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. They went on to resign en masse after Whitmer's win.