After more than a year of everything from a complete shutdown of casinos from mid-March to June 2020 to reduced capacity that went from 50 percent, down to 25 percent, and now back up to 50 percent, the Nevada Gaming Control Board gave casinos in Clark County approval to expand to 80 percent occupancy starting on May 1 in the hopes of getting the state back to 100 percent capacity on June 1.
The board opted to follow the guidance of Clark County, which takes over COVID-19 mitigation plans from the state on May 1. New measures increase capacity from the current 50 percent to 80 percent and reduce social distancing from six feet to three feet.
Earlier in April, Gov. Steve Sisolak anticipated that Nevada can return to 100 percent capacity levels on June 1.
Clark County Commissioners announced changes on April 20 that include increasing the number of people who can eat together inside a restaurant from six per table to 12 and at a bar from two to four people. Patios already can seat at 100 percent capacity.
The county still advises restaurants and bars to continue online ordering, takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery.
The news could get even better if at least 60 percent of the 1.8 million eligible residents in Clark County receive at least one dose COVID-19 vaccinations and both the 14-day average test positivity remains at 5 percent or below and running weekly cases remain below 1,150 cases. Then the county plans to lift all capacity and social distancing restrictions, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board indicated that it will follow that guidance.
As of April 23, the Southern Nevada Health District reports that 52,556 received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination, 285,940 received the first dose of Moderna and 183,666 received a second dose, and 486,185 received a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and 317,666 took the second dose. The Nevada State Immunization Plan resumes using Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses after a pause to investigate blood clots in a small group of women.
As of last Thursday, about 47 percent of Clark County residents were vaccinated, according to Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. That totals 568,090 completed vaccinations.
As of April 25, the county’s health department reported 242,378 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, and 4,271 deaths. In the past seven days, the county reported 1,707 new cases.
Each county in Nevada came up with its own game plan to take over COVID-19 mitigation plans on May 1, with some — such as Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Nye, Pershing, Storey, and White Pine counties — opting to reopen at 100 percent capacity with no social distancing. Others including Lyon County and Carson City plan to open at 100 percent capacity while continuing to impose six feet of social distancing. Esmeralda County will continue with a 50 percent occupancy with no social distancing requirements.
But the board rejected plans from Washoe County, where Reno and Sparks are located, so they will continue with 50 percent occupancy and six feet of social distancing.
The board says that individual resort properties can waive their county’s occupancy rates by applying directly to the board, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.