Reno closing bars, restaurants but not casinos on Friday |

Reno closing bars, restaurants but not casinos on Friday

By Scott Sonner Associated Press

RENO — All bars, nightclubs, restaurants and gyms will close in Reno by 5 p.m. Friday in an effort to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Hillary Schieve announced.

Schieve initially included casinos on the closure list late Monday with plans to begin the shutdowns Tuesday morning. But she quickly rescinded that directive and further clarified restaurants can continue carry-out orders and keep drive-thru windows open.

The selected businesses should begin winding down operations Tuesday with a goal of closing by 5 p.m. Friday and remain closed until April 5, Schieve said. The business restrictions are based on state and federal guidance and recommendations on social distancing, she said.

“I am simply trying to limit areas of high-exposure risk,” Schieve said.

Officials for the neighboring city of Sparks and surrounding Washoe County said Tuesday they have no immediate plans to follow Reno’s lead. The mayor of Las Vegas — where several large casino resorts have closed on the Strip — said a mandatory closure of bars and restaurants there would be devastating.

“My hope is that private industry rises to the top, that they’re allowed to stay open and take care of these families that are paycheck to paycheck,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Nevada has reported at least 45 cases of the virus so far. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Several major U.S. cities have closed bars and restaurants in response to the outbreak. Reno’s move came after six San Francisco-area counties about 200 miles (320 kilometers) to the west directed residents on Monday to shelter in place.

After initially announcing she planned to close casinos, Schieve said in a revised statement that casino gambling will be allowed to continue to operate under any conditions set by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Casino dining areas in restaurants and bars should be closed, but room service could continue for guests on the property, she said.

The Cosmopolitan became the latest resort on the Las Vegas Strip to decide to temporarily shut its doors because of the new coronavirus. The resort announced Monday night it will close starting 6 p.m. Wednesday after working to check out all of its hotel guests.

The Cosmopolitan said in a statement that it will remain closed through March 31, and its full-time employees will continue to get their pay and benefits during the closure.

MGM Resorts International on Monday night began closing its 13 properties in Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts plans to close its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore resorts Tuesday evening.

Associated Press writer Michelle Price in Las Vegas contributed to this report.