Clark County approves plan to emerge from COVID restrictions

covid remembrance
Clark County Commissioners during a January ceremony at the county government center honoring those who died from from COVID-19. (Photo by Ronda Churchill/Nevada Current)
covid remembrance
Clark County Commissioners during a January ceremony at the county government center honoring those who died from from COVID-19. (Photo by Ronda Churchill/Nevada Current)

Clark County inched closer toward normalcy Tuesday with the approval of a plan to further reopen businesses of all kinds at greater capacity levels.  

The county’s plan is in response to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s call to turn over the remnants of COVID-era regulation to local governments. It includes mitigation for public gatherings, large and small.

“Restaurants want salt and pepper shakers back on the table,” Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said. “People want to test drive cars again.”  

Clark County’s large-gathering plan calls for events up to 20,000 attendees to operate at 80 percent capacity with three feet of social distance, health district officials said Tuesday.   That’s provided half of Southern Nevada’s eligible 1.8 million residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, a benchmark expected to be reached by May 1, according to Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District.  

Businesses desiring to return to the old days — 100 percent capacity and no social distancing for up to 20,000 individuals — must verify the vaccination status of patrons or administer COVID tests 24 to 48 hours before the event.   

Commissioner Ross Miller wanted similar requirements for events with more than 20,000.  

Once 60 percent of eligible Southern Nevadans have been immunized, events of up to 20,000 can proceed with no social distancing, but mask requirements remain the purview of Sisolak.   

Events of more than 20,000 will be considered by the Health District on an individual basis. 

Miller wanted to allow blanket approval of events with more than 20,000 attendees, as long as patrons met vaccination and/or testing requirements. However, the measure passed without that provision.  

Only Commissioner Tick Segerblom, concerned about the effect on the Electric Daisy Carnival, voted against the plan.

Segerblom said he wanted “more clarity. But I think it will be OK.”    

“This is the biggest step, in my mind, of our recovery,” Commissioner Michael Naft said of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Leguen said 50,000 to 75,000 Southern Nevadans have been vaccinated each week since the beginning of March, with 815,000 receiving at least one dose to date. 

“The first week of June,” is likely when conventions and meetings can resume at 100 percent, Leguen told commissioners.

The state’s COVID Mitigation Task Force will hear Clark County’s plan on April 22.

Dana Gentry
Senior Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, a grandson, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.