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NV closes bars, restricted gaming sites amid Covid-19 spike


Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered all bars – including those in Las Vegas casinos – and restricted gaming locations in seven counties to close for at least two weeks amid rising cases of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the state.

In an emergency order issued Friday (July 10), Sisolak announced that the measures would apply to “elevated disease transmission” counties, based on three criteria. A county would need to meet two of the criteria to fall under the scope of the order.

This would mean it has two of: fewer than 150 Covid-19 tests per 100,000 residents per day; a case rate higher than 100 per 100,000 citizens; or has more than 7% of tests come back positive.

Currently this applies to seven counties; Clark (including Las Vegas); Elko; Humboldt; Lander; Lyon, Nye and Washoe County. 

As such, bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries, and wineries that don’t serve food, as well as restricted gaming locations – venues that are licensed to offer slot machines – must shut their doors. Those that do serve food will be allowed to remain open, and still limited to 50% capacity.

They will then be assessed after two weeks, and must show positive changes for at least two of the three criteria to be allowed to reopen. For this initial wave of seven counties, this assessment will take place on July 24.

“We know that Covid-19 can easily spread when people are congregating for long periods of time, like inside a bar. In states where we have seen significant spikes, such as Arizona, Texas and Florida, they have all taken actions to roll back bars,” Governor Sisolak said. 

“Recently, Dr Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, advised that congregating in bars poses a significant risk and is one of the most dangerous things people could do right now. We must heed his advice.”

It comes after Nevada’s casinos reopened from June 4. However, the state has since seen a spike in new cases of Covid-19, with 1,004 reported on Friday (July 10). 

An individual in the Nevada Legislative Building in Carson City was among the new cases, resulting in a special session of the state legislature being suspended until today (July 13), with debates to be held remotely going forward.

Further relaxing of preventative measures are now unlikely until at least the end of July, Sisolak added Friday.