Washoe's new plan would keep social distancing until June 1

RENO — Washoe County will be Nevada's only county that won't assume full local control of COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday after the health district officer and others refused to endorse a plan for the Reno-Sparks area because of the proposed elimination of social-distancing mandates.
But many Reno-Sparks businesses would be allowed to operate at full capacity as early as next week under a pending revised plan if they have enough space to still comply with the 6-foot distance requirement, Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick said Thursday.
He expects the county commission to approve the revised plan on Monday and state approval to follow in the days after that.
Nevada's COVID-19 mitigation task force has approved local control plans for all the other counties, including Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County where capacity limits will increase Saturday from the current 50% to 80% and social distancing will be reduced to 3 feet.
But the panel balked at Washoe County's plan last week after county commissioners dropped the social-distancing requirements that Dick, the school district and the city of Reno had insisted be part of the package to secure their necessary endorsements.
Dick told reporters Thursday the revised plan to be considered Monday restores the 6-foot distancing mandate through June 1, when social distancing limits would be phased out.
Masks will remain mandatory statewide under Gov. Steve Sisolak's latest directive that allows individual counties to assume full control of COVID-19 restrictions by June 1 and begin moving to full capacity on Saturday in all the other counties with approved local plans.
Many counties are dropping all capacity and social-distancing requirements effective Saturday. Clark County's plan removes all capacity and social distancing requirements when 60% of the 1.8 million county residents receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
That figure stood at 46.5% as of Tuesday in Clark County, 44.7% statewide and 51.5% in Washoe County.
On Thursday, Sisolak joined the chairman of the state Gaming Control Board, the president of the Nevada Resort Association, union officials and casino executives at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas to promote efforts to vaccinate frontline workers ahead of the state's full economic opening.
Dick said the Washoe County plan he expects the county commission to approve Monday will continue the current 6-foot social-distancing requirement through the end of May.
"But it will provide for people to be able to operate without a capacity limit as long as they're providing the appropriate social distancing as (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines direct," he said.
The pending plan would relax limits on party sizes at restaurants and bars so that up to 10 people could be seated together, Dick said.
"It will allow for bar service as long as social distancing is maintained. It will allow for hot tubs and spas to be reopened," he said.


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