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Governor Steve Sisolak Announces Phase 2 Plan To Reopen Nevada

An aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip at night.
Thomas Hawk
Flickr Creative Commons
During a media press call on Tuesday, May 26, Governor Steve Sisolak introduced an outline for Nevada's Phase 2 of reopening. Casinos in the state could reopen as early as June 4, with strict adherence to the Gaming Control Board's regulations.

Governor Steve Sisolak announced Nevada’s path to phase 2 of reopening, which will begin on Friday, May 29. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano breaks down the details with News Director Michelle Billman.

Billman: Stephanie, what will phase 2 of reopening entail?

Serrano: There is a lot happening during phase 2. It'll last two to three weeks, a minimum of 14 days, while monitoring case data. The community as a whole may start seeing an increase in public and private gatherings, from what was once allowed to 10 people, to now no more than 50 people. While more people are allowed to gather, Governor Steve Sisolak is still asking populations that are vulnerable to the virus to continue to shelter in place.

As far as businesses, employees must continue to wear masks while on the clock. Downtown businesses like bars and taverns that do not serve food can reopen with some restrictions. Fitness facilities may open with 50% capacity, but locker rooms and communal spaces, like hot tubs and saunas, will remain closed. There are separate rules for smaller fitness establishments.

The businesses that remain closed are adult entertainment establishments, brothels, night and day clubs, along with venues that have spectators, like live sporting events and performance venues. Some community members may be excited for this one: some indoor activities may reopen with 50% capacity, like art galleries, movie theaters and bowling alleys.

One of the most anticipated establishments to reopen are spaces of worship. Those places may reopen with gatherings of 50 people maximum. Sisolak did mention that some places of worship have become hot spots, so he's still encouraging religious groups to host online services.

Billman: What did the governor have to say about the gaming industry specifically?

Serrano: As far as the gaming industry, Sisolak says he feels confident that casinos should open on June 4 with regulations from the Gaming Control Board.

"The Gaming Control Board is going to be very aggressive in terms of being on the properties, visiting the properties, and making sure that the guest and the visitors are complying with the regulations, and that the companies are doing their part to make sure that all of those regulations are complied with as well," Sisolak said.

This means tourism is welcome to the state, and the travel advisory that has indicated visitors must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival will be revised later this week. The governor did say that he would pull back on the phase 2 plan if COVID-19 data moving forward presents concerns about public safety.

Billman: What did the governor have to say about state data on COVID-19 cases.

Serrano: Sisolak mentioned that during phase 1, the state saw a consistent and downward trajectory of the percentage of positive cases and a decrease in the trend of hospitalizations. He also said that the number of people testing positive against the total number of tests has declined to 6.5 percent. The governor also mentioned that the state is also exceeding testing goals, they're currently testing 4,000 people a day and that the state recently reported more than 9,325 test results in one day.

Billman: Last night's announcement was originally going to happen during a scheduled press conference, but that plan fell through. Can you break down what happened there?

Serrano: First, the in-person press conference was canceled, and then the announcement was supposed to be released with a pre-recorded video. Four hours later, that was canceled due to technical difficulties, and instead, the governor hosted a media press call.

This happened out of caution because the governor could have been potentially been exposed to the virus last week while visiting an establishment where an employee tested positive. The employee wasn't in the building when Sisolak visited, and he says he is currently not feeling symptomatic. He and his team are self-isolating, and he will be tested [Wednesday].

Stephanie Serrano (she/her/ella) is an award-winning multimedia bilingual journalist based in Reno, Nevada. Her reporting is powered by character-driven stories and is rooted in sound-rich audio. Her storytelling works to share the experiences of unserved communities in regards to education, race, affordable housing and sports.
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