Nevada will reopen swaths of the economy this Saturday under strict social distancing guidelines

Gov. Steve Sisolak discusses measures to help the public with housing stability amid the COVID-19 public health crisis at a press conference at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas, Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Pool) @rookie__rae

Today in a live web address, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that the state will move to Phase One of his plan to reopen businesses this Saturday, May 9. The Governor initially set a deadline of May 15 to consider a move to Phase One but was able to advance the timeline.

“I’m able to move up this announcement because as a state, we have met our gateway benchmarks for starting our reopening, the ones that I laid out two weeks ago and are included in our Roadmap to Recovery.

“Our reopening criteria were very specific,” Governor Sisolak said. “We’re looking for consistent and sustainable downward trajectory in the percentage of COVID-19 cases and a decrease in the trend of COVID-19 hospitalizations over a 14 day period. Our cumulative test positivity rate reached 12.2 percent on April 24th, and this has since decreased to 11.2 percent as of yesterday. The entire total has gone down a full percentage point, which is a significant decrease.

“And when it comes to confirmed COVID hospitalizations, we see an overall decreasing trend since April 21, a total of more than 14 days of downward trajectory and hospitalizations, intensive care hospitalizations. The trend is strong enough to meet the consistent and sustained criteria for moving into Phase One.”

The Governor offered details regarding which businesses would be allowed to reopen and how.

Restaurants:

“We still encourage curbside pickup or delivery, but restaurants can now open for dine-in. Under these requirements, they must require a, repeat, they must require employees to wear face coverings and encourage customers to wear face coverings. In-person dining will be limited to no more than 50 percent of the available seating capacity, excluding any bar seating. Reservations should be required. Tables or booths must be spaced six feet apart. Bar tops and bar areas within restaurants will remain closed for the current time. If someone is waiting to be seated, the person must wait or the party must wait outside of the establishment in their car or on the sidewalk, in an area outside the actual confines of the restaurant while they’re waiting for their reservation to come forward. This also goes for pubs, wineries, bars and breweries that serve food in a restaurant type setting. So to be perfectly clear, if the bar is serving food, they can open and have food served, but the bar area itself cannot be opened up, a standalone bar that does not serve food.”

Barbershops, Hair salons, and Nail salons

“They may open under strict social distancing requirements, and I’m going to get into that. If there are petitions or walls between the workstations or the chairs, we strongly encourage those to be there. If they are not there, then the business must use only every other chair or station to ensure that they are six feet apart. We must respond to maintain the six foot social distancing. So if there’s not a partition, in between the stations or the chairs, they have to make sure that there are six feet in between two stations. Services must be provided through appointments only, no walk ins will be allowed, and you will have one customer per stylist or cosmetologist. Stylists, beauticians, barbers and all staff must wear face coverings and encourage their clients to wear face coverings.”

Retail Businesses in General – Grocers and Big Box Retailers must further limit the number of people in a store at one time

“Retail businesses are strongly encouraged to promote and continue their online or call-in ordering curbside pickup and delivery and operations. But they now may reopen under strict social distancing requirements. Retail businesses shall limit the number of customers in their facility at any given time to no more than 50 percent of the allowed occupancy based on applicable fire codes. This is going to be a change for some of our businesses that are currently open. The big box stores and grocery stores and department stores that have not been subjected to the 50 percent, they now can have no more than 50 percent of their occupancy in a store at a time. So they’re going to reduce the capacity in those grocery stores and big box stores that have been operating without that.”

Malls

“Open air malls may open in accordance with the retail business standards that I previously mentioned. Indoor malls remain closed to the public, but they may establish an outdoor curbside pickup or delivery operation to the extent practicable following strict social distancing requirements. What I mean by that is if it’s an indoor mall and someone can order a dress or shirt or shoes or whatever and have it delivered to the curbside, that is allowable, but the customers are not allowed inside of the mall or inside of the store.”

Automobile, ATV and Recreational Vehicle Dealers.

“We encourage appointment only. Test Drives are allowed only if the customer or customer household members are allowed in the vehicle. No dealership representative in the vehicle with the customer on a test drive. Showroom areas open to the public must not exceed 50 percent of the allowed occupancy based on applicable fire codes. So whatever the fire code allows, it has to be less than 50 percent of that for those dealerships in their showrooms.”

Cannabis Dispensaries

“Dispensaries are encouraged to continue curbside delivery and pickup operations but may now conduct in-store sales only after submitting a plan and receiving approval from the Marijuana Enforcement Division.”

Face Masks

“I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of having a face mask face covering and wearing it regularly. Face coverings and masks are strongly encouraged for everyone in public. All employers and businesses, to repeat, all employers and businesses shall require employees to adhere to strict guidance of wearing face masks, especially those that have face to face interaction with the customers. So any employee in any of these businesses that are now allowed to open are required to wear a face mask in public.”

Mother’s Day

“You’re all aware that Sunday is Mother’s Day. Like Easter, it cannot be celebrated with large gatherings of people from multiple households. No one would love better than to have a Sunday Mother’s Day dinner with their mother, their 93 year old mother, than me. But this is not the time to do that. I love my mom too much to have dinner with her on Sunday. We can FaceTime together. I think she knows how to do it. I don’t. But we could have a phone call. But we encourage you not to have those dinners, those interactions with your family members. No good can come from that. The satisfaction of having a brief conversation over a ham dinner or whatever, it might not be worth taking the chance of having your loved ones contract COVID-19 and suffer. Please celebrate with your loved ones by protecting them from COVID-19.”

Vulnerable Populations

“If you are a member of a vulnerable population, you must continue to shelter in place. You can become a vulnerable member based on many things, based on your age, based on previous medical conditions, whatever that might be. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work, those folks that are now going to be returning to work in a retail or a salon setting or whatever that might be, you have to take new precautions when you come back home. If you’ve got a vulnerable population member living with you, please, you can carry the virus back home. That’s why you have to take the precautions at work and take extra precautions when you get home.”

What is Not Going to Open During Phase One?

“Bars, nightclubs, taverns that are not currently serving and do not have a license to serve food. Gyms and fitness facilities including yoga and spin facilities, pilates, dancing in bars and all the other things that were brought before me will not be allowed in Phase One.

“Entertainment, recreation activities, such as, and I’m not going to get every one here so I hope people can look online and use some common sense, but activities such as bowling alleys, movie theaters with the exception of drive-ins. Drive ins are allowed. Live venues, sporting event venues, arcades, recreation and community centers will not be allowed to reopen under Phase One.

“Strip clubs and brothels will not be opening under Phase One. Spas, tanning salons, massage parlors, body art and body piercing establishments will also not be opening under Phase One.

“And as a reminder, gaming establishments will not will not reopen in Phase One. Gaming operations shall remain closed until the Gaming Control Board determines that operations may safely resume.”

Vigilance – the war is not over

“I want to emphasize, we are not done with this fight. We can’t put our gloves down now. The beginning of our reopening of our economy is not the end of the coronavirus because we are moving into a phased-in approach to Phase One here. The coronavirus is still with us as strong as ever. It will not go away until there’s a vaccine, and we don’t have any vaccine in the foreseeable future. So our actions are going to demand that we remain vigilant and strong in terms of practicing our guidelines and social distancing, and we continue to move forward with our reopening.”

When will the State move to Phase Two or Three?

“Well, I don’t think it’s based necessarily on a date. I think it’s gonna be based on several things, whether or not we continue, hopefully to keep those continued downward trajectories. What the response is in Phase One, how people continue to practice what we’ve asked for the social distancing, the face coverings. I don’t have a specific metric to move into Phase Two. It’ll depend on various variables and criteria that would have benchmarks along the way, and we’ll just have to play it by ear.”

What if an employee does not feel safe going back to work?

“That is a very difficult situation that those employees in those businesses are going to be facing. We are regulated to a certain extent by the Department of Labor and Unemployment. And if they’re offered their job back, and they don’t take their job back, their eligibility for unemployment comes into question. That is something we’re working with our federal delegation in the Labor Department on that. I want people to feel safe when they go back to work. At the same time, businesses are anxious, and a lot of people are going to go back to work and make less than the thousand dollars a week that they’re making now. You can say, ‘why am I going to go back to work?’ Those are difficult situations that we’re going to be facing in the future. And there’s going to be a lot of people probably unhappy with what has to be done as a result of the Department or Labor, but we’re working through those problems as we speak.”

Here is an industry-specific guide to Phase One reopening.