Sisolak tightens restrictions for three weeks to control the virus |

Sisolak tightens restrictions for three weeks to control the virus

By Geoff Dornan

Gov. Steve Sisolak adds business restrictions for three weeks to get COVID-19 under control during a Sunday night press conference.

The new restrictions, which are scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday, come amid an unprecedented surge that has broken records in the state in terms of cases, deaths and infection rates throughout November.

The restrictions announced cut restaurants, bars and retail operations from 50 percent occupancy to 25 percent as well as gyms and other businesses including spas, gyms and health clubs.

Those restrictions also include casinos, casino restaurants and bars in those resorts. It also includes places of worship.

“We are on a rapid trajectory that threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our frontline health workers, and your access to care. So, it’s time to act,” said Sisolak, who recently contracted COVID-19. 

He said the new restrictions are in place for at least three weeks — essentially Thanksgiving plus the two-week incubation period for COVID-19.

Without improvement, he said Nevada could close restaurants for indoor dining, close gyms or implement further limits on gatherings.

He also announced restrictions for grocery stores and other big-box stores who he said must control how many customers are in their stores with employees counting those inside and out at all public entrances.

Sisolak said he wants Nevadans to step up and help control the spread of the virus because he doesn’t want to order a much more severe set of restrictions on Nevada residents and businesses.

He pointed out that local governments — specifically the counties — have the authority to impose more restrictions. To date, he said, they haven’t done so. He requested Nevadans wear their masks at public and private gatherings.

“We are not the mask police,” said Sisolak. “It’s incumbent on all of us as residents of Nevada to do our part.”

Health officials reported 2,155 confirmed cases on Sunday, increasing the statewide total to 133,888 since the onset of the pandemic. They also reported six additional deaths, bringing the known death toll to 2,017.

In Nevada, 10% of all confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in the last seven days and hospitals have filled to the point that one in Reno is setting up additional beds in an adjacent parking garage.

Sisolak did, however, say that it would have been much more helpful if the federal government had imposed a series of conditions including wearing masks early on in the pandemic.

“We would have been better off from the beginning,” he said.

Nevada’s problem, he said, is that, in southern Nevada, “we’re basically a one-industry town,” — a reference to the hotel-casino industry.

“Let’s be honest, our casinos, hotels, restaurants and bars are open with strict restrictions so that we can protect the economy,” he said.

With vaccines on the horizon, Sisolak said he hoped Nevada could get the surge under control to avoid further closures.

“There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we are getting closer. But we don’t have a vaccine yet,” he said.

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