Former NFL running back O.J. Simpson turned 73 years old on Thursday. He celebrated by heading out for dinner in Las Vegas. However, Simpson drew attention due to walking around without a mask in public and hugging strangers.
A video surfaced on social media Friday, showing Simpson at Jing Las Vegas in downtown Summerlin, Nevada. He sauntered through the restaurant — sans mask — before stopping to greet some bystanders. He shook hands with one man seated at a table and then gave a hug to a masked female. Simpson did not appear to have any concern for the COVID-19 pandemic despite being in his 70s.
OJ Simpson just walking around without a mask pic.twitter.com/LlyrgByr0G— Bacon, Grits, Eggs (@reddawg77089) July 11, 2020
"I'm guessing his mask didn't fit?" one person asked on Twitter. Others wondered why Simpson able to wander around the restaurant without a mask. According to TMZ Sports, the head-turning moment took place during a birthday celebration featuring lots of champagne, as well as some cake. DJ Liz Clark provided a soundtrack for the events while wearing a mask in the booth.
Wearing a mask in public is mandatory in Las Vegas following Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak's directive. This decision followed a four-week climb in coronavirus cases and the governor asking the Nevada Medical Advisory Team to analyze options for slowing the spread. They determined, along with the CDC, that facial coverings are one of the most effective methods.
"I'm proud of the work Nevadans have completed thus far in helping us flatten the curve, but our work is far from over," Gov. Sisolak said. "Today's directive is our opportunity to limit our risk for exposure and infection, and to keep our businesses open and our economy moving. For Nevada to stay safe and stay open, we must make face coverings a routine part of our daily life."
Directive 024 requires anyone in public space throughout Nevada to wear a mask. This requirement includes using public transportation, visiting businesses or interacting with others in public areas. Those at restaurants can remove their covers once seated at a table and preparing to eat. However, Nevada requires patrons to wear masks while wandering through restaurants.
According to the video, Simpson was not seated at a table. He definitely was not observing social distancing guidelines while shaking hands and giving hugs. This to a mixture of criticism as well a several jokes about Simpson's "lack of concern" for the lives of other people.