Nevada to Shutter Restricted Gaming Industry Venues Tonight

In light of the mounting number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak will introduce a new ordinance that will temporary shutter specific businesses hosting slot machines and introduce specific restrictions as to the operations of bars and restaurants.

New Directive in Nevada to Shutter Many Gaming Venues on Friday

Nevada is preparing a new set of restrictions for its beleaguered gambling industry following a continuous increase in the number of registered COVID-19 cases in the state. On Thursday, Gov. Steve Sisolak said that all gambling locations hosting 15 or fewer slot machines will have to shut down on Friday night.

The new directive extends to bars in certain counties, too, Gov. Sisolak’s spokeswoman in an email address last night. Among the affected regions are Clark and Washoe Counties which means that both the Las Vegas Valley and Reno will see more businesses shut down.

According to the governor, this measure is necessary because of “excessive non-compliance,” although there is enough evidence to suggest that businesses have been trying to comply as best as they can, with the state average compliance rate at around 76% but still around 86% in Northern Nevada.

More pressure will be applied to restaurants and taverns as well. Moving forward, specific venues will have to shutter their bar areas and reduce dining capacity to 50%.

Gov. Sisolak is releasing the directive officially today, but last night’s conference outlines more precariousness in the Silver State, as the pandemic has shown no sign of slow-down. Communicating the message to the public, Meghin Delaney, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, had this to say in an email:

“Bars inside casinos in the counties that must close bars will have to close. “Patrons can get drinks in restaurants, but can’t sit at a bar in a casino and get a drink.”

Restricted Gaming Locations May Be a Problem to Businesses

Presently, Nevada has estimated 2,000 restricted gaming locations, i.e. bars, restaurants, taverns and even grocery and convenience stores. These together account for some 19,050 slot machines across the entire state, according to the latest available information by the Gaming Control Board.

Gov. Sisolak said that discussions with health authorities have prompted him to pull back from previous reopening plans and hold on for a little while longer as the situation evolves. Here is what the governor said, citing hospitals running out of capacity to treat patients as the main concern:

“While discussing Nevada’s data, and using other state’s data as guides, the federal representatives advised that if Nevada did not take swift policy action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout our state, we would likely soon be in a precarious condition where hospitals are overwhelmed with patients in the very near future.

Nevada has been making tentative steps to reopen businesses. Phase 2 began in May and was planned to run through the end of July. Casinos re-opened on June 4 and the governor issued various orders since that time, most recently banning indoor dinning and suspending the serving of drinks and food in specific formats.

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