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Nevada enters phase 2: Bars, gyms, spas, gatherings of 50 people to begin Friday


Nevada will enter phase 2 of Sisolak’s reopening plan on May 29, which will allow a significant number of businesses to reopen with restrictions, as well as gatherings of up to 50 people.

Here’s who can reopen their doors on Friday:

Gyms and fitness centers

  • Small gyms that can only accommodate 10 people or fewer may reopen but must adhere to social distancing guidelines and maintain six feet between individuals.
  • Large gyms must only allow 50 percent capacity inside and must adhere to social distancing guidelines and maintain six feet between individuals.
  • Equipment must be spaced out to maintain six feet of social distancing between gym goers.
  • Participants of fitness classes must maintain six feet apart and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Locker rooms must remain closed except for the restrooms.
  • Showers, steam rooms, saunas, portable saunas, vapor baths, salt therapy rooms and hot tubs must remain closed.
  • Facilities must implement strict sanitization protocols.

Bars and taverns that do not sell food

Bars and taverns that do not sell food must follow the same guidelines that have been placed on restaurants during phase one, which must continue to be followed during phase two:

  • 50 percent capacity will be allowed inside the premises with strict social distancing between patrons.
  • Patrons are not allowed to walk up to a bar top to order a drink. They may be seated at the bar but must be spaced six feet apart. 
  • Congregating at bar tops is not allowed.

Esthetician services

These services must follow the same guidelines that have been placed on hair salons and barber shops during phase one, which must continue to be followed during phase two:

  • Facial hair removal, tanning, eyelash services, eyebrow threading, salt therapy and esthetician services may reopen.
  • There must be a wall or partition between each chair. If there are no dividers, chairs must be spaced six feet apart.
  • Patrons must make appointments. Walk-ins are not allowed.
  • Employees must wear face coverings.

Spas and massage parlors

  • Day and overnight spas may reopen, but steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs or other communal facilities must remain closed.
  • Massage services may reopen, but appointments are required.
  • Massage service employees, including the masseuse, must wear a face covering at all times.

Body art

  • Tattoo shops and piercing establishments may reopen.
  • Tattoos and piercings are prohibited around a patron’s mouth and nose so they can wear a mask the entire time.


  • Aquatic facilities and pools may reopen.
  • Locker rooms are to remain closed.
  • Facilities must only allow 50 percent capacity inside.
  • Face coverings must not be worn while swimming.
  • Water parks can reopen at 50 percent capacity and must adhere to strict social distancing guidelines.


  • Movie theaters and bowling alleys may reopen with occupancy restrictions and must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Museums, art galleries, zoos and aquariums may reopen at 50 percent capacity, must adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, and interactive and hands-on activities must remain closed.
  • There will be similar restrictions for mini golf and amusement parks, but Sisolak has not announced what those restrictions will look like.

Indoor malls

  • Indoor malls may reopen at 50 percent capacity and must maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Indoor malls must prohibit areas where patrons can congregate. Indoor malls must restrict seating and benches in hallways or open areas.
  • Individual retail stores must only allow 50 percent capacity inside and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Food courts inside indoor malls must adhere to the same guidelines as restaurants.

Live events

  • Live performances, sporting events, concerts and theater performances are allowed, but spectators are not permitted at said events.
  • In order to hold a closed event, event planners must submit an operation plan. The Gaming Control Board has jurisdiction to approve plans on gaming properties; the Nevada Athletic Commission will approve plans for athletic events, and all other plans are to be submitted to the Nevada Department of Business & Industry.

Worship services

  • Worship services may have gatherings up to 50 percent capacity inside the building with strict social distancing.

Youth sports and recreation 

  • Sisolak said he expects youth sports and recreation to open some point during phase 2 but has not released a date or what those restrictions will look like yet.


  • Gaming establishments are set to reopen June 4, 2020.
  • The Gaming Control Board is set to announce what those restrictions will look like today.

Businesses that are to remain closed during phase two

  • Adult entertainment and establishments, like brothels
  • Nightclubs and day clubs

Additionally, under phase 2, gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed with social distancing. Sisolak said Nevada will be in phase 2 for two to three weeks. 

Governor Steve Sisolak at a press conference May 7.
Image: Trevor Bexon

Meeting reopening criteria?

Nevada continues to meet the benchmarks for reopening, according to Sisolak.

He said that the state has seen a consistent downward trajectory of positive COVID-19 cases. Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate, which calculates the number of positive cases out of everyone who is tested, is at 6.5 percent as of May 26, the Governor added. 

The cumulative test positivity rate started at 12.2 percent on April 24 and was at 11.2 percent on May 6.

However, Washoe County has seen some of the highest spikes of COVID-19 during phase 1, which started on May 9. On May 17 and May 26, Washoe County reported 54 additional cases of COVID-19 on both of those days. Sisolak told members of the press these new positive cases from Washoe County are concerning, during an impromptu press conference he held at 8:30 p.m. on May 26.

“I am concerned,” Sisolak said. “I think, you know, they’ve identified through some of the tracing in Washoe, some of these went back to the Mother’s Day event and Cinco de Mayo parties that were held and there were some spreading at those events. I expect to see more numbers as we do more testing. If you look back … three, four weeks ago, we were doing 800, 900 tests a day. We did 9,000 tests [May 25]. So, clearly you’re going to get some positives as a result of doing that many tests.”

When asked if there is a number of new positive cases that would trigger Sisolak to scale back reopening plans, he did not provide a number.

“I don’t know if there’s a specific number, a positivity percentage could certainly trigger, unless you’re looking at a hotspot; that’s something we could get a control upon,” Sisolak said. “So, I don’t have a specific number, what it might be, but we’re looking at the numbers and the percentages very closely.”

Additionally, Sisolak said the state has seen a downward trend in hospitalizations over the past 35 days. Hospitals have sufficient capacity to handle a surge, according to the Nevada Hospital Association.

Another criteria for reopening is to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. Sisolak said the goal is to test 4,000 Nevadans per day. He said labs in the state reported 9,325 test results on May 25.

Sisolak said contact tracing—the process through which someone who tested positive for COVID-19 is interviewed to determine where they were exposed and who they could have exposed, and then notifying those who have possibly been exposed—needs to be ramped up. Plans for a more robust statewide contact tracing system will be announced this week, according to Sisolak.

Lastly, Sisolak said vulnerable populations need to be protected in order to continue reopening.

“We must make sure we have a sustained ability to protect our vulnerable populations and minimize outbreaks in special settings,” Sisolak said in a statement.

Since Nevada entered phase 1, there have been two outbreaks at state-regulated nursing facilities. There was an outbreak at Arbors Memory Care in Sparks the week of May 10, resulting in 33 residents and six staff members testing positive for COVID-19, and seven residents passing away as of May 26. 

There was also an outbreak at The Heights of Summerlin in Las Vegas the week of May 10, which resulted in 16 additional residents passing away due to COVID-19, adding to the 10 residents who had already died. A total of 83 residents and 62 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 as of May 26.

A fire truck and an ambulance arrive at Arbors Memory Care in Sparks on Sunday, May 17, 2020. Image: Lucia Starbuck
A fire truck and an ambulance arrive at Arbors Memory Care in Sparks on Sunday, May 17, 2020. Image: Lucia Starbuck

According to Sisolak’s statement, “Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been steadfast in this goal, working with communities across the State to help minimize outbreak and provide assistance where needed.”

DHHS said that they are investigating the outbreaks at Arbors Memory Care and The Heights of Summerlin.

There have been 396 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and 98 of those deaths are from residents in state-regulated nursing facilities, as of May 26. 

About a quarter of COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada are from residents in nursing facilities. However, Sisolak points out, the national average of COVID-19-related deaths in nursing facilities is 42 percent.

Sisolak tested for COVID-19 

Sisolak got tested for COVID-19 on May 26. The announcement came with a cancellation of his in-person press conference.

Sisolak said he visited a location last week where an employee, who was not present while the Governor was there, tested positive for COVID-19. Sisolak said he was notified of the possible exposure by a contact tracer. He did not say where he was exposed.

“I’ll get you the information later,” Sisolak told press on May 26.  “That’s the situation that the tracers contacted us, you know, as they do their job. … I respect the employees and the people that were involved.” 

Sisolak said he is not showing any symptoms but will be quarantining in the Nevada Governor’s Mansion in Carson City until he receives his test results.

This Is Reno’s COVID-19 news coverage

Lucia Starbuck
Lucia Starbuck
Lucia Starbuck is a graduate of University of Nevada, Reynolds School of Journalism. She has reported on issues impacting Northern Nevada, including the affordable housing crisis, a lack of oral healthcare and challenges voters with disabilities face while trying to participate in the election process. She has directed and filmed two documentaries about homelessness.Through reporting, Lucia strives to shine a light on the challenges vulnerable populations face in our community.