Nevada is the latest state to outline a coordinated plan to reopen its economy, Governor Steve Sisolak announced on Thursday, April 30.
Called the Roadmap to Recovery, Sisolak laid out goals under the plan, which include reducing the transmission of the novel coronavirus, reopening the state’s economy in a tiered approach, and preparing the health care infrastructure.
“The next 15 days will be our active transition to reopen our economy. While we will maintaining safety standards, we will be working businesses to make sure the plans accommodate the differences among the cities and counties,” Sisolak said on Thursday.
The first phase of the plan, which will begin in the next two to three weeks on or before May 15, includes testing and identifying close contacts of those said to be infected with COVID-19 and wearing face coverings when going out for essential activities.
The governor touted that the previous stay-at-home order announced last month has helped keep Nevada’s positive cases and deaths lower than most states.
Clark County has recorded 3,979 positive results and 202 deaths. Statewide, there are 4,998 cases and 243 fatalities, as of press time.
However, Sisolak said a tiered approach must be taken to reopen the state as to not overwhelm the health care system and spark a second wave.
“I have the unfortunate responsibility to remind you that the threat remains real,” he said.
The governor’s plan comes after the original stay-at-home order, which was set to expire on Thursday at midnight, has been extended until May 15.
He reminded Nevadans to continue to stay home to protect vulnerable groups during the first phase of reopening as there is no vaccine yet.
Certain retail businesses, including the possibility of some dine-in restaurants and personal care services, would be covered. But it would not cover bars, nightclubs, malls, sporting venues and large areas of worship.
The prohibition of social gatherings with more than 10 people will continue for now.
As for casinos and gaming operators, the governor said the Nevada Gaming Control Board will be monitoring the situation with health authorities.
“Gaming will not be reopening at the start of phase 1,” he said for certain.
After each phase of re-openings, state public health officials will continue reviewing new COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations and deaths in order to determine the next steps.
Sisolak declared a state of emergency on March 12, then closed K-12 schools three days later. Later in the month, he issued a directive closing casinos, gaming establishments and other non-essential businesses.
The state is set to begin easing some restrictions previously imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19, starting Friday, May 1.
Retail businesses, previously deemed non-essential, can start to reopen if they offer curbside pickup, as outlined by the governor on Wednesday, April 29. Marijuana dispensaries are also included under retail.
“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 said.
The relaxed rules also cover places of worship that can now have drive-up religious services on the condition that people remain in their vehicles and uphold social distancing.
Further, residents can head out to play golf and tennis but must keep safety and distancing measures.
Nevada and Colorado earlier this week joined Western states — which includes California, Washington and Oregon — to form a regional coalition focusing on jumpstarting their economies again.
“Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier tourism destination, and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long term economic comeback,” Sisolak said in a statement.