Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak followed through on a threat made Monday: If people don’t practice social distancing guidelines, he’ll tighten government restrictions on social gatherings.
“I’ll consider anything if people aren’t following the rules,” he said.
Effective midnight, a new directive shuts down retail showrooms, church gatherings and golf courses. Sisolak blamed what he called a small minority of people not practicing social distancing for the new directive that further puts limits on areas where people gather.
“I’ve had a multitude of pictures that were sent in to me that showed that people were not practicing good social distancing,” he said. “We tried it. It didn’t work.”
People at golf courses riding in carts together and congregating on greens, people playing basketball in parks, and groups of skaters at skate parks were each cited as examples.
“Some activities have unnecessarily become high risk due to people circumventing the intent and acting as if they are not susceptible to becoming infected,” he said. “Social distancing is the only way we can end the true severity of this pandemic.”
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Here are some of the new rules:
- Sporting and recreational venues including golf courses, parks with sporting amenities (tennis courts, basketball, soccer) and swimming pools are now closed.
- Business showrooms (cars, household appliances) must close. Items can still be purchased and delivered.
- Real estate property showings have new restrictions. Virtual tours, buying and selling can continue — as well as house showings if there are no occupants and visitors practice social distancing. Realtors can no longer hold open house events.
- At-home visits for haircuts and styling are now prohibited.
- Essential businesses have to provide protections for employees.
- Grocery stores can no longer offer self-service for food products.
- Worship services are prohibited for 10 or more people, and those held must have social distancing in place.
“We are living in unique times, and science tells us putting large numbers of people together during a pandemic for any reason … is an invitation for the disease to do its worst,” Sisolak added.
Surge of patients coming
Eighty people have died in Nevada to date. Three of those were in Washoe County and died just today. Two who have died were healthcare workers.
A surge of patients is expected to hit Nevada hospitals. Models have different predictions as to when that will occur, but a consensus is that Nevada’s numbers will peak within the next six weeks.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Sisolak said.
About 70 percent of Nevada’s ICU beds are occupied, and most are non-COVID-19 patients, Sisolak said, citing data from the Nevada Hospital Association.
“If you don’t stay home for yourself, stay home for the two healthcare workers who gave their lives trying to protect us and save us,” he admonished. “The only thing that will stop this virus — and I’m going to say this over and over again — is social distancing and responsible behavior. Someone can be infected without exhibiting symptoms.”
The virus is deceptive and dangerous, he stressed.
“Too many people are going from hospitalization to ICU to ventilators to passing. It’s severe. It’s bad.”
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This Is Reno’s COVID-19 news coverage
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Washoe County has struggled with logistical issues in getting locals vaccinated for COVID-19, in part because unreliability in the supply chain.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state’s vaccination efforts faced challenges in part because of a lack of unity and leadership at the nation’s highest levels.