Nevada governor relaxes virus rules starting Monday

Geoff Dornan

Saying Nevada and Nevadans have done well to reduce virus numbers despite the holidays, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday announced a series of changes between now and May 1 relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on a long list of businesses.

He said at its peak, Nevada hospitals had 2,126 COVID patients. Now that is down to 879.

The statewide positivity rate, he said, has dropped from a high of 21.7% in January to 14.3% as of Wednesday and continues to decline.

Snapshot of the governor’s reopening plan.

Because of the improvements, he said starting Monday gyms, gaming floors, and similar businesses will be allowed 35% capacity instead of 25%. That also includes indoor rules for bars and restaurants. Outdoor dining will not have limits.

He also said groups can begin submitting larger gathering plans to local officials starting March 1. On March 15, he said those operations will be allowed to raise capacity limits to 100 people or 50% of rated capacity.

Local businesses will be allowed to move to 50% capacity beginning March 15. Malls and similar operations will also be allowed to move to 50% April 1.

But nightclubs, day clubs and brothels, he said, will remain closed for now.

Importantly for local businesses, he said on May 1, local governments will take over and be able to make decisions on capacity limits and other rules for their businesses.

Sisolak said he is working to help schools reopen for in-person instruction. At present, 16 of Nevada’s 17 school districts are at least partially open for in-person instruction. Clark County, with three quarters of Nevada’s K-12 students, remains closed but is planning to reopen pre-K through third grade in March.

He said the Biden administration is moving to bring much needed assistance and relief to Nevada and other states. He said he is in contact practically daily to try to get Nevada more doses of the vaccines. He said the problem isn’t technicians who can put the shots in people’s arms but the lack of doses.

Asked about getting Nevada hospitality workers vaccinated, he said Nevada is one of the few states that has made those employees a priority and his administration is working to get them vaccinated. He said the state’s customers need to know it’s safe to vacation in the Silver State.

Sisolak said to date, more than 300,000 Nevadans have received their first dose of the vaccines and 82,000 their second dose for a total of 390,000.

He said very soon, Walmart and Sam’s Club will begin administering vaccines in their three-dozen Nevada locations to expand who is betting the shots.

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