Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Thursday that the state would restart its phased reopening.
A spike in COVID-19 cases prompted Nevada to pause its Roadmap to Recovery plan in November, when the 14-day moving average of daily new cases topped 2,000. By mid-December, the state hit an all-time high of more than 2,700 new cases per day.
But the state’s situation has improved considerably — as of Feb. 11, the rate was down to 587 new cases per day.
Now that trends are improving and the state has begun distributing vaccines, officials say it’s time to start loosening restrictions again.
As long as case numbers continue to improve, restrictions will be gradually rolled back over the next three months.
Beginning Monday, the capacity limit on indoor dining at restaurants will be raised to 35% and diners will no longer have to make a reservation in advance. Gyms, casino floors and places of worship will also be allowed to increase the number of customers allowed inside. Retail businesses will still be limited to half capacity, because experts say they present less risk for COVID-19 transmission.
In May, the state plans to give authority over mitigation efforts to local officials.
“If we all want to see this transition to local control, let’s work together to continue decreasing our community transmission,” Sisolak said.
Peter Guzman, president of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the move.
“More capacity means more business,” he said. “We’ll be even happier when we get to 100% and we see businesses open, thriving, employing people and paying taxes.”
Guzman’s organization also helped draft Assembly Bill 106, the first bill to be signed into law from the current legislative session. AB106 will add $50 million to the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support program, which provides grants for small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by COVID-19 closures.
“These Latino-owned businesses are very important to the economy,” he said. “Anything we can do to help them stay open, stay thriving and employing people I think is a good thing for our community.”
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