A stay-at-home directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak to slow the spread of COVID-19 remains in place through April 30, but on Tuesday, he unveiled a plan to reopen the state for business. While Sisolak says that he’s not ready to put a date on lifting the stay-at-home directive, he did reveal a plan for the conditions that need to be met in order to lift the ban and how the state would reopen businesses, including restaurants.
“I’m arguing that flattening the curve and that we can immediately lift restriction restrictions in one fell swoop is like arguing that a parachute has slowed our rate of descent so we can take it off now,” he says in a press conference. “We cannot take off the parachute. Experience gleaned from other countries teaches us that we cannot flip the light switch and turn our lives or economy back on too quickly. We still have a responsibility to protect people to protect our economy.”
Sisolak says that he wants to ensure that Nevada’s economic reopening is sustainable and the state doesn’t see a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, which follows White House guidance of assessing infection and hospitalization rates. “Because we are an international tourism Mecca, we have an added responsibility to get this reopening plan correct,” he says.
He calls for more testing of people to find out if they do indeed have COVID-19 and expanded tracing capacity to find out how patients contracted the disease. In order to even consider reopening Nevada, Sisolak wants to see a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over a 14-day period.
Once his team indicates that COVID-19 cases are falling, he says Nevada can move into phase one of his plan, where individuals should still avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more and should continue to minimize unnecessary travel and wear face covers in public.
Businesses should encourage employees to continue to work from home, and return to work in phases.
While bars will remain closed during the first wave of business reopenings, Sisolak says that larger venues including restaurants, movie theaters, sporting events, and churches can return to business as long as they offer social distancing protocols. Later, Sisolak conceded that restaurants may not open for dine-in service in phase one since they would have to implement social distancing protocols and may only be able to offer seating at 20 percent to 30 percent capacity. He suggested that restaurants may want to continue offering takeout and delivery services instead of opening for dine-in service.
Schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.
While casinos are not included in phase one of reopening the state, Sisolak says the Gaming Control Board will ultimately sign off on any casino reopening plan. Wynn Las Vegas already revealed a plan for reopening the resort and hoped that those protocols could be implemented in mid- to late May.
Sisolak will update his previous directives to reflect his plans later this week.