Nevada Reopening: Phase One Now Underway

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada began allowing restaurants, salons and other nonessential businesses to reopen on Saturday, the first easing of restrictions since they were imposed seven weeks ago to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

The governor said at a news conference last week that Nevada had seen 14 days of decreasing hospitalizations and positive tests for the virus, benchmarks he said last month must be met before lifting any closures. 

Sisolak said the state has also expanded its testing capacity to include anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and this week is now able to test people considered asymptomatic. 

The governor said people should still avoid large groups, wear face masks in public and limit interactions with those outside their household. 

Sisolak said the vast majority of Nevadans are doing a “tremendous job” staying home and practicing social distancing. 

“It’s only because they are doing such a great job that we are able to do this today. It’s not because of the people who are complaining,” he said.

Sisolak said he’s still encouraging people to get takeout or food delivery, but restaurants may open if they limit capacity to 50%, require reservations and keep customers seated 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Restaurants must keep people waiting for a table outside, have all employees wear face masks, and ensure their bar areas closed. 

Restaurants within casinos, which have been shut for seven weeks, must stay closed. 

Salons and barbershops cannot accept walk-in customers and must keep clients who make appointments spaced apart. 

Retail stores and open-air malls may reopen. But those shops, along with stores that have been open, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, must all limit customers to 50% of the building’s capacity. 

Car dealerships and other showrooms will also be subject to the 50% capacity rule and should encourage appointments. Only members of a household can participate in the test driving of a car, and employees must wait at the dealership. 

Sioslak said casinos, nightclubs, spas and gyms must remain closed until further notice. Bowling alleys, movie theaters that are not drive-ins, community centers, tattoo parlors, strip clubs and brothels must also stay shuttered. 

The governor said he did not have any specific metrics he wanted the state to meet in order to reopen more, but said he would sign an order setting the eased restrictions in place until May 30. He pledged to provide an update before that date.