Face Masks to Become Mandatory in French Casinos

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Visitors to French casinos will have to wear masks by law, and those that don’t comply will face a fine of up to €250/$280.

Face masks
Face masks like those worn in Las Vegas will become mandatory in French casinos beginning on Aug. 1. (Image: Newsweek/Ethan Miller/Getty)

President Emmanuel Macron made the announcement Tuesday as COVID-19 started to show signs of a resurgence in parts of France. Macron said in a TV interview that requests currently regarded as safety advice will become law on Aug. 1.

The change of tact means anyone visiting establishments that “welcome the public behind a counter” will have to wear a mask. Casinos fall into the category alongside shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants.

French Casinos Already Adjusting to COVID-19

Certain casinos in France have already made face masks a condition of entry. Those owned by the Barrière Group have implemented a three-part safety protocol that includes the wearing of masks, hand sanitizer stations, and enhanced cleaning routines.

The use of face masks has also been added to the list of COVID-19 safety precautions at Casino Monte Carlo. Other casinos across France will now follow suit as part of the effort to keep businesses open by reducing the risk of another COVID-19 spike.

Macron’s British counterpart, Boris Johnson, announced a similar policy change this week. The Prime Minister confirmed that face masks will be mandatory in shops across the UK as of July 24.

Those who flout the rules could be fined up to £100/$130 and be escorted from the premises by police officers. The mandate follows an earlier move that made face masks compulsory on public transport, and could set a precedent in other areas.

French Policy Could Help British Casinos

France’s move could be positive news for British casino operators. Although industry insiders have criticized the government’s decision to keep casinos closed, compulsory face masks could pave the way back to business.

The UK’s COVID-19 statistics are similar to those of France. Johnson may take inspiration from Macron and make masks a condition of entry into more public venues. Assuming his logic is consistent, this would give casinos a way to reopen safely.

Some people are critical of laws that mandate the use of masks, calling them an attack on their civil liberties. However, if they’re a temporary measure to get businesses running again, British casino operators would take that option right now.

With Rank Group alone losing £10 million/$13 million per month, something is better than nothing. If casinos in France can continue serving the public with face masks, it’s a strategy Boris Johnson shouldn’t ignore.

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