Sisolak again orders bars to shut down in some counties
Pointing to the rapidly rising number of positive virus cases, especially in Nevada’s large urban areas, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday ordered bars to once again close their doors at midnight Friday.
He said the list obviously includes Nevada’s two largest counties, Clark and Washoe. He said, however, some rural counties have almost no cases. There is still one county with no positive COVID-19 cases. He said which other counties must close bars will be announced Friday.
Sisolak said the state of Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration has now inspected some 1,500 businesses and that the majority, 79 percent of those businesses, are complying with the health/safety restrictions including wearing masks and social distancing.
But he said there are too many that aren’t complying.
“That means one fifth of businesses visited are not complying,” he said. “That is unacceptable.
And he said inspectors found the worst violators are the bars.
“Fewer than half the bars OSHA visited were found to be in compliance,” he said.
Nevada now has just under 25,000 positive cases of the virus and 571 deaths. The rate of infections has been climbing steadily for nearly three weeks.
He said he and his staff met with officials from the federal Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday and they warned that the data says that, “if Nevada does not take swift policy action, the state will likely get to a condition where hospitals are overwhelmed.”
He also ordered the sitdown bar areas of restaurants closed, but said those restaurants, while remaining at no more than 50 percent capacity, could still serve alcohol at their dining table. He said all bar tops must close down regardless of whether they have gaming devices.
In addition, restaurants can’t seat more than six people at any table whether indoors or in outdoor serving areas but that his administration is strongly promoting food establishments to promote outdoor dining.
Sisolak said he is also monitoring other businesses including swimming pools and gyms where customers and staff are required to have face coverings.
He said he is aware that further business closures will further damage the economy and impede recovery. But he said he is re-implementing restrictions “in order to save lives and protect Nevadans.”
He said the order will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks and if the situation improves and infections level off or begin to decrease, he will consider lifting the order.