CARSON CITY — Nevada’s month-old stay-at-home order, set to expire Thursday at midnight, will be extended two weeks to May 15, though some coronavirus restrictions will be eased starting Friday, Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Wednesday.
The governor announced the move early Wednesday evening. While the stay-at-home order remains in place, along with a limit on public gatherings to fewer than 10 people, the following will be relaxed:
■ All retail businesses, including those previously deemed nonessential, will be allowed to operate under a “curbside commerce model” similar to curbside pickup now allowed for restaurants and eateries. This includes curbside sales for retail marijuana dispensaries, which have been limited to only delivery orders since mid-March.
■ Places of worship can have drive-up religious services, as long as people stay in their vehicles and maintain social distancing parameters with people who are not part of their household.
■ Nevadans can once again play golf, pickleball and tennis “as long as they do it safely and in a way that prevents the spread of COVID-19.”
“Nevadans have done an incredible job at staying home for our state, and as we work diligently to meet the reopening criteria, I wanted to begin some initial incremental changes that will make our full transition into Phase 1 smoother and positively impact our communities and small businesses,” Sisolak said in a statement. “Our ability to enter the next phase and any subsequent phase of reopening will be determined by the continued commitment of Nevadans to follow aggressive social distancing guidance and requirements.”
The governor, who on Tuesday teased on social media that he would announce a “Roadmap to Recovery” plan for Nevada, previewed the latest directives in an interview earlier Wednesday with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Sisolak said in the interview that casinos would not reopen “until the third or fourth phase” of Nevada’s reopening plan.
“We’re just not ready right now to handle that kind of volume,” he said.
Nevada is currently in “Phase Zero,” according to the governor, who said last week the slowing of coronavirus case statistics would trigger the gradual reopening plan.
“Our statistics have plateaued. We’ve got almost 5,000 cases now in the state of Nevada and 225 fatalities, so those numbers have kind of stabilized, and hospitalizations and intensive care hospitalizations have begun to decline. And so we are looking forward to continue to bring our economy back to life a little bit,” the governor added.
The governor will detail his reopening plan at a press conference on Thursday, according to the news release.
Sisolak began lifting some coronavirus restrictions Tuesday when he announced that hospitals in the state would begin performing medically necessary procedures that had been temporarily halted amid the outbreak.
The governor’s COVID-19 response team issued a series of guidelines with the directives Wednesday.
A sample of other guidance issued Wednesday:
■ Private golf and tennis clubs can reopen as long as they follow the public health guidelines, but clubhouses, bars, and amenities such as gyms must remain closed. There should only be one golfer per cart unless players live in the same household. Carts also must be wiped down before and after each round.
■ Smoke shops, breweries, and wine, beer, and liquor stores may open for curbside or home delivery services only. As with other retailers, contactless payment is recommended, and items must be placed in customers’ cars by the employees. No hand-to-hand delivery is permitted.
■ Car, furniture and appliance showrooms remain closed but items may still be purchased.
■ Real estate: No open houses or in-person showings of renter-occupied properties permitted. Unoccupied house viewings by appointment.
■ Home service by a barber/stylist: Not permitted, at threat of losing license.
Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said that the group’s priority “remains the health and safety of our employees, guests and fellow residents, and our members look forward to reopening when Governor Sisolak and his medical advisory team determine it is safe to do so.”
“Our members understand it is critical to take a measured approach that ensures the reopening of Nevada’s tourism industry is done strategically and correctly for the long-term health of our industry and its reputation,” Valentine said in a statement. “The Resort Industry is in close contact with the Governor, the Gaming Control Board and state and local agencies and will follow the guidance from public health authorities as to recommended practices and protocols needed to resume operations.”
Officials with business associations, meanwhile, see the option for retail curbside pickup as a positive step. But some also said they believe the state has not yet relayed sufficient information to the public or businesses.
“For us, it still comes down to there are still so many details that we don’t know,” Bryan Wachter, vice president of government and public affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada, said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“We just don’t have a lot of answers to give them,” Wachter said about communicating with the association’s members. “We don’t know what that will look like. Will it be county-by-county? Will it be a statewide policy?
Curbside pickup could get retail stores back to a “minimum level of operation,” he said, while adding that getting the infrastructure in place for some “mom-and-pop” businesses could be difficult.
Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Ann Silver said that adding curbside pickup for retail stores would help bring back some economic life to the community while still using strict social distancing protocols.
“Our businesses need customers and customers want to see their favorite stores survive,” Silver said.
Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony, who has been advocating for businesses to be allowed to reopen, said the curbside pickup would be a good step, but one that shouldn’t last long.
Anthony said in a phone interview Wednesday that the restrictions on outdoor activities should be lifted “immediately” and that the state should very soon allow for retail stores and restaurants to let customers inside their doors once again, but with a limited capacity.
“We need to get these businesses open, we need to get these people back to work,” Anthony said. “People want a date. They want to know when we’re getting to a safe normal. They’re not interested in just waiting.”