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Nevada COVID-19 task force votes to allow bars to reopen

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Posted at 9:09 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 00:09:54-04

The Nevada COVID-19 task force approved to allow bars to reopen on Thursday night according to our Scripps sister station in KTNV in Las Vegas.

KTNV has a full break down of what led to this decision tonight after 5 p.m. and a statement from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.

UPDATE AT 5:30 P.M.: The task force took action on Clark and Elko’s plans to reopen bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries, and wineries with additional measures in place, including increased enforcement efforts throughout the counties in Nevada. These new action plans will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20.

CLARK COUNTY

Assessment Summary:

  • Clark County continues to meet 2 of the 3 elevated disease transmission criteria.
  • Clark’s test positivity rate dropped 2.6% since last week (now at 8.6%), demonstrating positive returns on its comprehensive action plan previously approved by the Task Force. Clark’s case rate continues to drop and is above the threshold for the average number of tests per day.
  • Clark reports sufficient hospital capacity throughout the region.
  • Clark County is currently conducting a testing program with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the State of Nevada to administer up to 60,000 additional drive-through coronavirus tests over 14 days at three separate locations throughout the Las Vegas Valley at no cost to individuals. The additional testing runs through September 18.

Approved Action Plan:

  • This week, the Task Force approved Clark County’s plan to reopen bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries and wineries with certain restrictions in place, including increased enforcement measures. This measure will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20 and will include input on increased enforcement and mitigation measures. At a minimum, the reopened businesses must follow statewide standards and enforcement measures, which include, but is not limited to required face coverings for employees and customers and a 50 percent capacity limit.
  • State officials will continue to work with Clark on enforcement and mitigation efforts to help further reduce the county’s positivity test rate and case rate.
  • State officials have requested proactive mitigation plans in the event of increased positivity test rates and case rates going forward.

ELKO COUNTY

Assessment Summary:

  • Elko continues to meet 2 of the 3 elevated disease transmission criteria.
  • In the last week, Elko’s positivity rate has dropped from 12.6% to 6.2%, demonstrating positive returns on its comprehensive action plan previously approved by the Task Force.
  • Testing has increased in Elko through existing local resources, a private vendor, and additional resources requested from the State.

Approved Action Plan:

  • This week, the Task Force approved Elko County’s plan to reopen bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries and wineries with certain restrictions in place, including increased enforcement measures. This measure will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20 and will include input on increased enforcement and mitigation measures. At a minimum, the reopened businesses must follow statewide standards and enforcement measures, which include, but is not limited to required face coverings for employees and customers and a 50 percent capacity limit.
  • State officials will continue to work with Elko on enforcement and mitigation plans moving forward to continue to keep the test positivity rate down and to increase testing within the county.
  • State officials have requested proactive mitigation plans in the event of increased positivity test rates and case rates going forward.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued the following statement in response to the recent actions related to reopenings taken by the Nevada COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force:

“I am beyond thrilled that the hard work of Nevada’s residents and businesses has resulted in our COVID-19 data trending in a positive direction, allowing the Task Force to lift restrictions on bars in counties that previously had these mitigation measures in place due to their transmission risk levels.

I have consistently been in support of safely lifting restrictions and reopening areas of our economic and social life based on improvements in our data, in addition to strong participation and enforcement plans from local governments. The work completed by the Task Force over previous weeks, in addition to their recent actions, represent the State’s commitment to a transparent process, a safe reopening, and coordinated partnerships with our local governments.

I want to thank the Task Force and local governments for their work toward helping to accomplish our overall goal: safely lift restrictions based on data so our businesses can succeed and our workers can get back on the job.”

Clark County also released regional protocols here.

UPDATE AT NOON: Clark County requested that all bars be allowed to reopen and that the rules be changed for gatherings be changed during today’s coronavirus task force meeting.

Specifically, Clark County requested that bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries, and wineries be allowed to go back to Directive 21. Clark County also asked for churches and conventions be allowed to operate at reduced capacity, both at 50% occupancy rates, adhering to state guidelines for social distancing and wearing of masks.

PREVIOUS STORY: Gov. Sisolak announces bars will return to Phase 1

Clark County requested that these approvals go into effect 11:59 p.m. Sept. 20.

During the task force meeting, Julie Peek, deputy administrator of the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, said that in the last 30 days Clark County has traced 26% of cases to a hotel-casino and 12% to food establishments.

Peek also pointed out though that there is uneven testing, meaning that some businesses may have more positive test results because of more testing.

Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick spoke again this week during the meeting, making a pitch to reopen bars. Kirkpatrick pushed for the reopening of countertops during the last meeting of the task force.

COURTESY ARTICLE KTNV LAS VEGAS