UPDATE (Feb. 14) -- Gov. Steve Sisolak on Sunday night signed Directive 037, formalizing his announcement on capacity limits on Feb. 10.
After further review of court rulings, the governor's office updated places of worship capacity to 50% beginning Feb. 15.
"Places of worship may conduct services and gatherings so that occupancy may include up to 50% of listed fire code capacity," the release said on Feb. 14.
FOX5 asked Sisolak's office for comment after Centers for Disease Control officials advised against easing COVID-19 restrictions. The governor's office did not reply to FOX5's request.
Read the full directive below:
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- In a news conference on Thursday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced numerous places of business would gradually increase capacity limitations, a move that will ultimately return some industries to "pre-pause" levels by spring.
Below, Sisolak outlined his Roadmap to Recovery Safe Reopening Plan for the state in an phased approach:
Beginning Feb. 15, specific businesses will be moving to 35% capacity, based on "risk-level" and health expert guidance.
- places of worship
- fitness facilities
- gaming floors
- bowling alleys
- pool halls
In addition, libraries, museums, aquariums, art galleries and zoos will move to 50% capacity.
Public gatherings and events are able to increase to 100 individuals or 35% in accordance with fire code capacity.
For larger gatherings, organizations are permitted to submit plans beginning Feb. 15 for events not to begin before March 1, a process that was in place prior to the statewide “pause.” Large gatherings, ones eligible via approval by the appropriate Local Health
Authority and approved by the State, will be capped at 20 percent of total fixed seating.
Beginning March 15 through May 1, all businesses under 35% capacity limits will slide to 50% capacity and public gatherings will transition from 250 people to 50% capacity.
“This will return the State to full pre-pause levels,” the governor said.
- Retails stores
- Indoor malls
- Community recreation centers
However, non-essential businesses that require closer contact to individuals will remain under “strict Local Health Authority and approved by the State.”
- massage establishments
- hair salons
- nail salons
- other aesthetic services
Also, "high-risk" industries like nightclubs, dayclubs and brothels will remain closed until at least May 1.
"May 1 marks the date where we hope to reach our ultimate goal of transitioning mitigation management to local authority," Sisolak said.
Indoor dining will be capped at 35%, but outdoor dining will not have capacity limitations. In addition, reservations will no longer be required beginning Feb. 15, and patron-per-table capacity will increase from 4 people to 6.
'IN THE HANDS OF EVERY NEVADAN'
The governor said the ultimate goal is to surrender “decision-making authority on mitigation management” of businesses and activity to local authorities on May 1.
“As we ease restrictions, we must follow the science and studies, which states clearly and repeatedly that closures to certain settings are more impactful in reducing disease transmission,” Sisolak said. “According to the experts, mitigation measures in these high-risk areas should be extended longer and eased responsibly to help slow the spread.”
This effort to return to business as usual is "in the hands of every Nevadan," Sisolak said.
"We're working through that this week," Sisolak said. The governor's office said they are with with the NIAA to bring additional sporting events back. Regarding student athletes, the governor said his priority was to get kids back into the classroom first before the court.
On the topic of vaccine distribution and the governor's overall handling of the pandemic, Sisolak compared the lift to a "tight-rope walk." Between working with local authorities to vaccinate eligible patients in a timely manner to handling unemployment rates, Sisolak said it's all about balance.
Despite Nevada's success in administering vaccine on a national level, Sisolak said "there is more work to be done."
"As of yesterday, more than 307,000 first doses have been administered to Nevadans and reported to the State system, along with over 82,000 second doses – totaling more than 390,000 doses administered statewide," Sisolak said.
ON LONG VACCINE LINES & SYSTEM ISSUES
But despite Nevada's best effort to address public health, some issues have arisen with systems in place.
"They're working with Southern Nevada to alleviate these situations," Sisolak said. "We're taking federal advice. We don't want our seniors standing in line for hours. I hear they're standing in line for hours. The health district is telling me 15% are showing up for appointments, this is an enormous, a Herculean task to undertake, we're doing everything we can."
ON MINORITY COMMUNITY DISTRIBUTION
Earlier this month, Sisolak said the county had not done enough to address inequity when it comes to vaccine distribution within minority communities.
"I made my point very clear as it related to the underserved population, the inequity that I felt exists in vaccinations, I know that the county is aware of that, I know that the local leaders are aware of that, I know that the health districts are aware of that & its incumbent on them to take that information and hopefully move forward with it. I don't want to say they're doing enough or not doing enough, they've been great partners. But equity is about access."
"As you all know, each week Nevada receives a limited number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine which is a challenge for everyone, but every dose is a small step forward," Sisolak said. "These doses are going to locations throughout Nevada and I am proud of the partnership we have with our statewide coalition, Immunize Nevada."
VACCINE HELP HOTLINE: 800-401-0946