CARSON CITY – Six days into Nevada’s initial emergence from weeks of pandemic-triggered shutdowns, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Friday it would be the end of May before the state has enough data to decide whether further easing of restrictions on public life can go forward.
“We’re continuing to monitor our data very, very closely,” the governor told reporters at a COVID-19 status briefing, his first since announcing Phase One reopenings last week. “All the data is presented to me on a daily basis, but as I mentioned, it’s gonna take a minimum of two weeks of analyzing that data and assimilating that data to determine any impact that Phase One might have had and before moving forward.”
The data are promising, the governor said, including a now 20-day downward trajectory in the daily rate of people testing positive, an overall increase in testing, and adequate hospital capacity. He added, however, that it’s still possible negative data could force the state “to roll back some what we already did.”
Phase One of the reopening plan kicked off on May 9, after the governor issued a new directive allowing retail stores, restaurants, barbershops, salons and some retail businesses to reopen with restrictions, such as capacity limits and requirements that all employees wear facial coverings. Sisolak said most open businesses were following the rules but that “some that are not in compliance right now.”
“Unfortunately, their negligence puts Nevadans at risk, so there will be repercussions as a result of that,” Sisolak said. “We must all continue to take this virus seriously. We know this virus is not gone. We’ve made progress, but the virus is here.”
The governor highlighted additional milestones from the week and added details to decisions behind some of them:
– The state conducted 17,000 coronavirus tests last week, almost 2,500 per day, the governor noted. The state now has the testing capacity to meet its goal of 4,000 tests daily, he said.
“But people have to go get tested,” he said. “They have to get in their car and drive down there, and I encourage them to do that. If everybody does it we probably have the capacity to do 4,000 now. We’re just not meeting that all over.”
– 250,000 weekly unemployment claims are now being paid. The state will begin processing claims for gig workers and independent contractors starting Saturday, with first payments going out in a week.
– The state Gaming Control Board’s decision to allow restaurants in gaming establishments to resume limited operation along with standalone food service businesses was a nod to smaller communities with limited dining options, the governor said.
“This is just to do an accommodation for some of our rural communities that use those restaurants and don’t have a lot of other choices,” he said.
Dozens of business types remain closed by state order, including casinos, bars and nightclubs; spas, gyms and fitness centers, including yoga, barre and spin facilities; recreational, entertainment and sports venues; community centers; movie theaters and more.
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