Sisolak: Nevada will start next phase of coronavirus reopening plan earlier than expected

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A crowd of up to 200 people gather on Saturday to protest Gov. Steve Sisolak’s stay-at-home order. Drivers honk in support of reopening businesses. Reno Gazette Journal

Governor plans to reopen some businesses ahead of schedule

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Gov. Steve Sisolak will set a new date for Nevada to start the next phase of its coronavirus recovery effort.

Sisolak said in a Thursday statement that the state is now on track to start “phase one” of the plan before the May 15 date announced last week.

He plans to offer more details on the accelerated timeline at a 3 p.m. press conference in Carson City. RGJ.com will carry the governor’s remarks live from the state Legislature’s website.

More: Gov. Steve Sisolak debuts Nevada’s COVID recovery plan, details what can and can’t reopen

More: Sisolak extends stay-at-home order, allows retail curbside pickup, drive-in church services

Sisolak’s office did not immediately offer additional details about when businesses are expected to reopen. 

The governor’s latest COVID announcement comes one week after he debuted a phased reopening effort that he said would allow many Nevada retail stores, small businesses and other “low-density open spaces” to reopen by mid-May or sooner, albeit under strict social distancing measures first put in place in March.

Sisolak has also fast-tracked the limited reopening of all retail businesses and pot shops, along with some churches and recreational facilities.  

Smoke shops, breweries and liquor stores resumed pickup and delivery services on Friday, the same day the state relaxed restrictions on outdoor activities such as golf, pickleball and tennis. Nevada hospitals and dental offices voluntarily resumed necessary medical procedures earlier this month.

Sisolak last week said the Silver State was in “phase zero” of its virus-recovery effort, and was expected to move into a new phase around the same time his latest stay-at-home order expires on May 15. He’s repeatedly said that businesses could not start unlocking their doors until the state had, among other things, seen a 14-day decline in positive COVID tests and hospitalizations.

The state’s salons, barber shops, bars, casinos and other nonessential businesses have been closed since March 17. 

Officials predict it will take two or three weeks to work through each of the phases in Sisolak’s plan. The governor has said he isn’t sure how many phases will ultimately be required. 

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James DeHaven is the politics reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal. He covers campaigns, the Nevada Legislature and everything in between. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com right here

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