In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, Reno is shutting down bars, nightclub, gyms and restaurants, Mayor Hillary Schieve announced Monday.
In an afternoon press conference, the mayor phrased the effort as a shutdown of “non-essential” businesses and said grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and medical would remain open. Later, the city issued a follow-up statement saying the mandatory closures only apply to bars, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants. Takeout, delivery and drive-thru restaurants are exempted, though they must close any dine-in options. The statement also said casinos are allowed to operate their gaming but must follow new restrictions set by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Dining areas and bars within casinos must shut down.
The mandatory closures are in place until April 5 but may be extended, according to the press release. Businesses affected by the closure have been told to wind down operations beginning tomorrow and are expected to be closed by 5 p.m. Friday.
“I know there was some confusion around the announcement, so I just want to clarify that these are businesses where groups of people tend to congregate,” Schieve said in a statement. “Let me also clarify that all businesses are essential. I am simply trying to limit areas of high-exposure risk.”
“This is the appropriate measure considering the circumstances,” said Schieve during the original press conference. “If this is what we have to do to protect this community from this virus, this is absolutely what we need to do.”
During the original press conference, Schieve said Washoe County Health District made the call that closures be mandatory rather than recommended. However, the Reno Gazette Journal is reporting the county health district said they did not push for mandatory closure.
Reno’s original decision came hours after the announcement of Nevada’s first COVID-19 death, a Clark County man in his 60s. It also came one day after several gaming properties in Las Vegas announced they are voluntarily closing their doors temporarily. MGM Resorts is closing all of its properties: Bellagio, Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Delano, Park, Mirage, New York-New York, Luxor and Excalibur. Wynn Resorts is closings its two properties: Wynn and Encore.
Jace Radke, a spokesman with the City of Las Vegas, said Mayor Carolyn Goodman “is not currently planning to ask local businesses to close.”
Governors across the country have also been asking businesses to shut down. Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois governors have asked all bars and restaurants to shut down while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with governors from Connecticut and New Jersey, asked gyms and casinos to shut down while bars and restaurants remain open to allow take out orders.
“As you know, the situation is rapidly developing and unfolding,” Meghin Delaney, the spokeswoman for the Nevada Health Response Center. “The governor supports any businesses who make the difficult decision to close or limit services to customers. As he has done with other industries, the governor encourages bars and restaurant owners to do what they can to take care of their employees during this time.
This story has been updated with additional details about closures statewide and to reflect new statements from the City of Reno.