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Some businesses to reopen Saturday, but not casinos

Updated May 7, 2020 - 11:58 pm

CARSON CITY ­— Nevada will begin to emerge from its pandemic-triggered statewide business shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Thursday, outlining detailed requirements for reopening businesses and listing dozens that must remain shuttered for now.

The reopenings will include restaurants, barbershops and hair salons and most retail businesses, with certain guidelines and limitations. Bars, gaming establishments, gyms and entertainments venues, such as movie theaters, will stay closed under the Phase One reopening plan. Relaxation of the restrictions comes a week earlier than the May 15 date the governor gave last week.

“I’m able to move up this announcement because as a state, we have met our gateway benchmarks for starting our reopening,” Sisolak said at a briefing from the legislative building in Carson City.

At the same time, he urged continued practice of social distancing as “the best weapon” in continuing efforts to keep the disease at bay.

“That means you must continue to avoid large gatherings and avoid being closer than six feet to other people who are not members of your own household, especially if you’re not wearing a mask,” the governor said. “And I’m going to go back to the mask and the face covering over and over again.” He said it’s extremely important in helping suppress the spread of COVID-19.

What’s open, what’s closed

Facial coverings will be mandatory attire for all employees of reopening businesses, which include the following:

Restaurants and other food-serving establishments: Allowed to open for dine-in under strict social distancing requirements. No self-service food stations. Capacity limited to 50 percent of available seating. Reservations should be required. Tables or booths must be spaced at least six feet apart. Bar areas to remain closed. Waiting patrons must remain outside.

Barbershops, hair and nail salons: May open under strict social distancing requirements. Partitions or walls between workstations encouraged, or six-foot minimum distances. Services by appointment only. Waiting customers must remain outside.

Retail businesses (essential and nonessential): Store occupancy limited to 50 percent of capacity. These include appliance, furniture and home furnishing showrooms.

Malls: Open-air malls may open with strict social distancing requirements. Indoor malls will stay closed but may establish outdoor curbside or pick-up operations.

Automobile, ATV, RV dealers: Appointments are encouraged, unaccompanied test drives for customers/household members only; showroom capacity limited to 50 percent.

Entertainment: Drive-in theatres may resume operations with strict social distancing protocols.

Marijuana dispensaries: In-store sales permitted after submitting plan and receiving approval from the Marijuana Enforcement Division. No more than 10 customers or 50 percent of allowed occupancy, whichever is fewer.

What remains closed under Phase One:

■ Nightclubs, bars, pubs and taverns that don’t serve food.

■ Spas, gyms and fitness facilities, including health clubs, yoga, barre and spin facilities.

■ Entertainment and recreational activity venues.

■ Recreation and community centers, including public pools.

■ Sporting event venues

■ Live entertainment venues, including theaters

■ Cinemas and movie theatres (except drive-in)

■ Racetracks

■ Zoos and aquariums

■ Bowling centers

■ Skiing facilities

■ Theme parks

■ Amusement parks, miniature golf, arcades and other amusement venues

■ Brothel and adult entertainment establishments

■ Aesthetic service establishments except nail, hair salons and barbershops

■ Body art and body piercing establishments

Counties can be stricter

Under the state plan, counties may institute their own requirements provided they are stricter but not more lenient than the state guidelines. The governor said the state will need two to three weeks to assess how Phase One is working before weighing next steps. The guidelines announced Thursday last through May 30.

“I don’t have a specific metric to move into Phase Two,” Sisolak said. “If we see a problem with any of these initiatives that I brought forth in these openings, and we can identify the activity that is causing the surge, we will roll back some of the openings that we had previously announced today. “

Asked about the state’s continuing struggle to handle an unprecedented surge in unemployment claims, the governor said it’s “an issue that we continue to face.” The state is still working to modify its system to handle claims for gig workers, hopefully within 10 days. Other problems are traced back to inputting errors, such as incomplete dates, that kick claimants out of the system.

“So those are causing problems and those have to be fixed, one at a time,” the governor said.

As for employees concerned about being required to go back to work, Sisolak said that “is a very difficult situation.”

“If they’re offered their job back, and they don’t take their job back, their eligibility for unemployment comes into question,” Sisolak said, adding that the administration was working with Nevada’s federal delegation and the Labor Department on a fix.

“I want people to feel safe when they go back to work,” he said. At the same time, “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, and you can say, ‘Why am I gonna go back to work?’ Those are difficult situations that we’re going to be facing in the future.”

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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