Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has a front row seat to the pandemic—not only is his state overrun with cases, but he's tested positive himself. "Although I'm not experiencing symptoms, many Nevadans do," he tweeted Sunday. "My heart goes out to all those who are sick with this virus, and to the families of the more than 2,000 Nevadans who died from COVID-19. Not a day goes by where I don't think about these families and their grief." He then went on to deliver the harsh reality: "Since the start of the pandemic, a quarter (24%) of ALL #COVID19 cases in Nevada were identified in the month of November," he tweeted. "We must take this seriously and act now."
Sisolak called for a statewide "pause" that puts restrictions on certain businesses and activities. To see what's allowed and what isn't, read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Gov. Sisolak Said Hospitals Were "Overwhelmed" and Something Has to Change
Sisolak compared the spread of COVID to a "wildfire." "As of today, 13 of 17 of our counties are flagged for elevated risk of transmission. In the beginning of October, only two counties were flagged," Sisolak, a Democrat, wrote. "Our statewide positivity rate is at a record 16.5 percent, and as I mentioned, we've surpassed 2,000 deaths."
"All available models indicate that Nevada is in a 'red zone' and our health experts anticipate continued case growth based on current trends," he said. "In fact, 10% of all COVID cases recorded in Nevada since the beginning of the pandemic were reported in the last seven days. Every minute, a Nevadan is diagnosed with COVID-19….Our public health infrastructure is quickly becoming overwhelmed. And from the start I've made clear that in addition to saving lives, one of the main goals of our response is to protect our public health system and our hospitals from being overwhelmed."
What the Restrictions Entail
"I am not issuing a shutdown order," the governor said. "My goal is to aggressively try to attack this spread, while maintaining some portion of our economy and our daily lives."
The pause is effective at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and includes the following:
Face Masks are Required
You must wear a mask at all times "when you are around someone who is not part of your immediate household, whether indoors or outdoors," the governor said. That goes for private gatherings, too.
Restaurants and Bars
They will drop to 25% capacity, down from 50%. No walk-ins allowed. "I know the majority of our bars and restaurants are doing their best, but these settings have proved to be high risk because they allow the opportunity for people to remove their face coverings in indoor settings around people outside of their households. That's how the virus spreads," Sisolak said.
Gaming and Casinos
These will also drop to 25% capacity, pursuant to rules issued by the state Gaming Control Board.
Other Businesses Will Also Drop to 25% Capacity
"Gyms, fitness, dance and martial arts studios, museums, art galleries, libraries, zoos and aquariums, arcades, racetracks, bowling alleys, miniature golf, amusement and theme parks also must go to 25 percent capacity," reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.
"Sisolak said private gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer, from no more than two households — whether indoors or outdoors," according to Fox 5 Vegas. "Face coverings must be in use with people from outside of the household."
…will remain at full capacity. "Let's be honest: Our casinos, hotels, restaurants, and bars are open with strict restrictions so that we can protect our economy," Sisolak said. "Meanwhile, the majority of our school buildings across our state are closed and our kids are suffering as a result. Our education system and our economy are not mutually exclusive — they are tied together."
The Governor Said "It's Time to Act"
Explaining the restrictions, the governor laid his cards on the table. "Let me explain this quickly: whether you believe in the science of COVID or not, the reality is this – COVID is filling up our hospital beds and that threatens all Nevadans. If hospital beds continue filling at this rate and staffing shortages continue to increase as they are now – that means ALL Nevadans will have limited access to the care they may need. It's not just for COVID –if you get in a car accident, or have a heart attack, or break a wrist…you won't be able to access care if our hospitals are full and there isn't enough staff. This is our biggest threat. You saw it in New York, you can see it in El Paso right now. This can't become our reality. There is consensus on one inescapable conclusion: we are on a rapid trajectory that threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our frontline health workers, and your access to care. So it's time to act."
"From the start of this pandemic," he continued, "there aren't any decisions that don't have negative consequences. Weighing the loss of jobs and businesses versus the loss of health and lives is painful, without a perfect solution. While prioritizing the health and safety of Nevadans, I am also balancing the significant ramifications that further restrictions will have on our suffering economy. No state struggles with this more than Nevada due to the lack of diversity in our economy. I've mentioned this high wire act before – this great balancing act – and I feel like we've been living in this no-win situation for nearly nine months."
Those in his state will have to balance some more. And no matter where you live, to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.