Bars and pubs with gaming machines remain closed in four Nevada counties. Governor Steve Sisolak said that the state is taking a more strategic and aggressive approach aiming at reducing the COVID-19 spread.
Clark, Washoe, Elko and Nye County Slot Bars Remain Closed
Bars in four Nevada counties remain closed while the state officials try to reduce the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, 3rd of August, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that the restrictions for bars, pubs and taverns in Clark (Las Vegas), Washoe (Reno), Elko and Nye county will not be lifted. The bars and pubs in those counties were previously identified as increased transmission risk. In order for those venues to reopen doors, a risk assessment needs to take place but also action plans need to be prepared.
Most bars and pubs that offer restricted gaming have their machines inserted in the bar top area. In other words, in order for visitors to play, they need to sit at the bar. But under the current restrictions, such places that usually have 15 restricted gaming machines or less, cannot operate.
With that in mind, some bar owners have decided to switch the places of their restricted gaming machines. Reported by Las Vegas Review-Journal, operators have started removing their gaming machines from the bar areas and placing them in an established “gaming lounges.”
Although Las Vegas and Henderson allow such changes, operators in other cities across Clark County are expecting allowance from state officials. Here it is important to mention that across Nevada, there are 19,000 restricted gaming machines across 2,000 locations.
The COVID-19 Impact on the Silver State’s Bars
On July 10, bars in 7 counties were ordered to shut down. The decision was made following an increased number of positive COVID-19 cases. Back then, bars and pubs who offered food were allowed to continue operating but only by offering deliveries or curbside sales. The restrictions impacted many bar and pub owners, who said that their main source of income actually comes from gaming rather than the drinks which are sold.
Two weeks after the restrictions were introduced, they were lifted for three counties: Lyon, Lander and Humboldt County. Last week Governor Sisolak announced a new “long-term mitigation strategy.” The new strategy replaced the phased reopening plan and is actually aiming at reducing the spread of COVID-19 more efficiently. With the new strategy, state officials will be able to identify high-risk businesses. Furthermore, they can implement more efficient virus prevention methods and if necessary introduce restrictions to businesses.
Nevada’s Mitigation Plan
At the press conference yesterday, Governor Sisolak said that the state will continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He said: “I want to be clear, in no way are we relaxing our mitigation efforts.”
“We are taking a more strategic, aggressive approach that will target this disease where it is spreading and take action to stop it.“stressed Governor Sisolak
Nevada COVID-19 response director, Caleb Cage said that the new approach will have updated criteria for assessment. This will aid the mitigation and allow predictability, added Cage. According to him, there are three key factors of the new approach:
“Overall, what Nevadans need to know is this: the criteria determine a county’s risk level, and the risk level determines the mitigation level.“added Cage
Moreover, Governor Sisolak said that the shutdown of economic activity in Nevada is not sustainable long-term. According to him, if Nevadan’s continue to wear face masks, which is actually mandatory and keep social distancing, the targeted approach should fulfill its purpose. However, the Governor hasn’t ruled out another shutdown in the event of increased positive COVID-19 cases.