Augustine and Pechanga Casino require cloth or surgical masks, no gaiters allowed

Taylor Martinez

Augustine Casino in Coachella is changing it’s mask policy in response to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

Neck gaiters, bandannas and masks with valves or other openings are no longer accepted.

“This is not reaction to anything that has happened within the casino. We continually monitor the CDC’s guidelines around COVID and how it can spread, and we make adjustments to our policy,” said Lindsay Grant, the director of marketing for Augustine.

Riverside County Public Health staff says neck gaiters and bandannas are less effective than traditional masks.

“With a vent, smaller particles could potentially enter through that vent. Bandannas and gaiters are not as effective at stopping small droplets,” said Brooke Federico, the department’s spokesperson.

Casino guests are now required to wear cloth masks or surgical masks, although the latter was previously discouraged at the beginning of the pandemic.

“At this stage in the pandemic, it is easier to obtain surgical masks. They are more effective at stopping the droplets. So certainly, if members of the public can purchase those, that’s certainly fine to do so,” said Federico.

All staff and visitors of the casino will be required to wear the specific types of mask, except when eating. Those who do not have the correct type will be handed one at the door.

“If someone is uncomfortable wearing a mask, unfortunately, this is not a place they should come,” said Grant. “If someone has the wrong sort of mask we’ll definitely help them out and give them the correct mask when they step inside,” said Grant.

This change goes into effect Monday, Sept. 7th, just in time for Labor Day Weekend.

County health officials say they are thankful for businesses who take the mask mandate seriously.

“It is something, of course, that we encourage and thank our business community for making sure that their employees and their customers are safe,” said Federico.

Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula also made the same policy change, effective Sept. 1st.

No word yet if other local casinos will follow.


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