Las Vegas and Elko win approval to reopen bars |

Las Vegas and Elko win approval to reopen bars

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau
FILE - In this July 10, 2020, file photo, Alanna McDonnell mixes drinks at Velveteen Rabbit, a cocktail bar in the Las Vegas Arts District in Las Vegas. Bars in and around Las Vegas can reopen after this weekend with limited capacity, distance between customers and facial coverings all around, officials announced Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.
AP Photo/John Locher, File

The governor’s coronavirus task force agreed Thursday to allow bars in Elko and Clark County to reopen at midnight Sunday.

But to do so, they have to implement tougher enforcement standards.

That means all bars statewide in all counties are now able to reopen at 50 percent capacity, face coverings for employees and following other restrictions including social distancing.

They were approved for reopening despite still meeting two of the three elevated disease transmission criteria. The original rules by the state required any county meeting two of three criteria close down the bars. Clark County’s positivity rate is down significantly since a week ago from over 10 percent to 8.6 percent.

The county is also part way through a push backed by the federal government to conduct 60,000 tests over 14 days. That testing completes on Friday.

Elko’s positivity has dropped from 12.6 percent to just 6.2 percent. But it has been hamstrung by the limited amount of testing there. But task force officials said Elko has ramped up testing with both local resources, a private vendor and added resources from the state.

Both counties are still above the per-100,000 population case rate.

Three counties including Washoe no longer meet the criteria for elevated transmission and are open for business. That includes bar tops in restaurants and stand-alone bars, with six feet social distancing.