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Spanish Virtual Event Breaks Down COVID-19 Impacts In Washoe Co.

A screenshot of speakers who participated in the first-ever Spanish-language town hall with the COVID-19 Regional Information Center.
City of Reno
The COVID-19 Regional Information Center's first-ever Spanish-language town hall was held on Friday, May 1.

Lee en español. 

The COVID-19 Regional Information Center held its first-ever online event in Spanish to share advice and resources regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Experts from the City of Reno, City of Sparks, and Washoe County were panelists for a video stream on the City of Reno’s YouTube channel about the challenges that members of Northern Nevada’s Hispanic community may be facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed issues related to health, education and finances during the pandemic, and the event aired on local Spanish-language TV stations, including Univision. 

Sandra Rentas works for the Nevada Small Business Development Center and said that Latino-owned small businesses are feeling the COVID-19 strain. One of the most popular programs for business loans is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance, which is currently closed but may open up again. The other is the Paycheck Protection Program

[Original quote in Spanish] 

“Le exhorto a las personas no esperen mucho tiempo porque es el primero que entra en el sistema es el primero que lo va a recibir y nosotros podemos ayudar con la solicitud”, dijo Rentas.  


“I encourage you all to not wait very long [to submit your applications] because the first [applications] in the system are the ones that are going to recieve [funding] first, and we can help you with the application,” said Rentas. 

Sandra Rentas’ phone number at the Nevada SBDC is 775-682-9133.

During the event, the panelists also discussed public safety. María Alvarado is with Washoe 311, the county’s non-emergency phone line. She said the service center is receiving calls with concerns from people asking why businesses haven’t been closed when an employee has tested positive with COVID-19 or why some employers are not being transparent about employees exhibiting signs of illness.

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Si hay un empleador que no está cumpliendo con las reglas establecidas, los referimos a OSHA, que es la administración de seguridad y salud ocupacional del estado de Nevada. Es un número diferente de 311 pero nosotros podemos dar este número cuando hablen con nosotros”, agregó Alvarado.


“If your employer isn’t complying with established protocol, we can refer you to OSHA, which is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Nevada. Their number is separate from Washoe 311, but you can call us and we’ll refer you over to them,” Alvarado said. 

Another topic discussed during the livestream was distance learning. Fatima Rivas works in multicultural communications with the Washoe County School District. She said the school district will soon be distributing more print and online materials for distance learning, which will include advice for parents on how to structure their child’s school day while at home. For bilingual families, Rivas said now is a good time to practice speaking more Spanish together. 

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Ahorita es el mejor momento de practicar su idioma en casa, lo recomendamos. O sea que hagan eso”, expusó Rivas.   


“Now is a good time to practice your [first] language at home, we recommend it,” Rivas said. 

The discussion did not address how Spanish-speaking parents can assist their children with lesson plans that are in English. 

Event organizers said there will be more Spanish-language virtual meetings in the coming weeks.

This story was produced in partnership with Noticiero Móvil

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