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Gov. Sisolak eases restrictions on some Nevada businesses

Beginning Friday, May 1, Nevadans will again be able to play golf, patronize all retail businesses and undergo medical procedures unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak as Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that, while he is extending his Stay at Home order through May 15, some of the restrictions of his previous order that expires Friday, May 1 will be relaxed.

Under the new directive, all retail businesses will be allowed to operate under curbside commerce models, similar to the way restaurants have been operating the past few weeks. This includes cannabis dispensaries.

Drive-in services are permitted for places of worship, as long as congregants stay in a vehicle and maintain 6 feet of distance from people not in their household.

Restrictions on outdoor activities, including golf, pickleball and tennis are being eased as long as players do it safely and in a way that prevents the spread of COVID-19.

The loosening of these restrictions will become effective on Friday, May 1, 2020. All other directives currently in effect will be extended through May 15, or until the state meets the necessary criteria set forth last week and consistent with the White House guidelines to demonstrate the state is making sufficient progress to slow the spread of COVID-19. If the state continues in a positive direction and meets the criteria, the start of the next phase could begin earlier than May 15. At that time, a Phase 1 directive will be issued.

While Nevada has not yet met the reopening criteria, the decision to ease restrictions on certain retail operations and some outdoor activities before entering Phase 1 was based on the state’s progress so far toward meeting the specific benchmarks, including positive case and hospitalization trends, along with testing and case contact tracing capacity.

“Nevadans have done an incredible job at staying home for our state, and as we work diligently to meet the reopening criteria, I wanted to begin some initial incremental changes that will make our full transition into Phase 1 smoother and positively impact our communities and small businesses,” Sisolak said. “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.”

Under the extended directive, businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos, among other things. Businesses that are deemed essential may still be open and must still comply with strict social distancing standards and other safety measures to keep workers and clients safe.

Gov. Sisolak presented Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery during a press conference on Thursday, where he outlined the projected phases and structure for how Nevada and local partners will navigate our way through this public health crisis. At the time of this writing, the details had not been released.

The Nevada Hospital Association is preparing to resume medically necessary procedures for care that has been delayed after the hospitals began to cease such procedures to support COVID-19 efforts to ensure hospitals could safely and effectively respond to the pandemic and provide health care to patients.

“While the state has been focused on battling the COVID-19 public health crisis, I know many of our hospitals, medical practices and dentist offices proactively paused medically necessary services to help flatten the curve, preserve personal protective equipment and help residents stay home for Nevada,” Sisolak said. “While many states are now rolling back restrictions, Nevada never had to restrict these surgeries by an emergency directive because our responsible communities took it upon themselves.”

This move aligns with other states, who previously restricted these types of procedures and are now relaxing the restrictions. Nevada’s Medical Advisory Team also supports the phased-in approach to resume limited medical and dental procedures under strict guidelines.

“The governor’s quick response to implement and maintain appropriate social distancing and close nonessential businesses, coupled with diligent health care efforts, has flattened the curve, stabilized hospitalization rates and ensured the ability of hospitals to respond to changing needs of COVID-19,” said Bill Welch, president and CEO of the Nevada Hospital Association. “Nevada hospitals share the governor’s goals for putting the health and safety of Nevadans first.”

Nevada hospitals will provide medically necessary procedures based on an established plan to safely phase in procedures based on clinical judgment, established guidelines, sufficient availability of personal protective equipment, flexible policies permitting immediate response to any COVID-19 surge and alignment with established guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and other regulatory agencies.

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