Operators of Nevada’s casinos waited for word on whether they could reopen on June 4, but Gov. Steve Sisolak canceled his planned press conference on Tuesday that included the next steps for reopening the state for business. Instead he released his remarks online, and says that phase two will allow bars and indoor shopping centers to reopen, and reaffirmed potential for casinos to reopen on June 4.
In a prepared statement, Sisolak says the state will move into phase two of its reopening plan on Friday, with bars, churches, and gyms allowed to return to business. Some sporting events, swimming pools, and tattoo or piercing businesses also can reopen.
Bars and taverns that don’t serve food, including bars in restaurants, can reopen as long as they don’t exceed 50 percent capacity. Customers cannot walk up and order at bars, but can sit at bar tops as long as they remain six feet apart.
Indoor malls can also reopen as long as they remove benches and seating where people tend to congregate and only allow 50 percent capacity and social distancing. Food courts must follow the same restrictions as restaurants.
Sisolak says this next stage of reopening will last for two to three weeks, and cited a 31-day decline in the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 statewide, as well as decreases in the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and increases in testing.
Nightclubs and dayclubs, adult entertainment businesses, brothels, and live sporting events or performing venues with spectators remain closed.
Sisolak also confirmed that the Nevada Gaming Control Board plans to release new guidelines on Wednesday for casinos to reopen on June 4.
New recommendations could include handing out cards with information on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, taking the temperature of customers and employees, providing face coverings or masks to patrons and employees, installing hand sanitizer stations throughout a property, promoting and enforcing social distancing in public areas, and training staff about COVID-19 safety measures. Other suggestions include testing employees before they return to work, along with two additional tests during the first month after returning to work and then one test every month until the end of the state’s third phase of reopening.
Siisolak canceled his Tuesday televised press conference after learning that an employee at a workplace he visited reported testing positive for COVID-19. While the employee was not in the building when Sisolak visited, he opted to cancel the press conference to prevent possibly exposing others. Sisolak plans to take a test for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Sisolak closed all nonessential businesses including casinos on March 17. Right now, Nevada is in phase one of reopening, with dine-in restaurants, including some within casinos, permitted to reopen with restrictions. If coronavirus cases continue to decline and hospital capacity to treat new cases continues to remain available, he may move into the next phase of reopening the state for business. In the past, he’s said that casinos may reopen in phase three or four of his plan. But Sisolak appears to be fast-tracking casino reopenings into phase two of the state reopening for business.