Tuesday, September 22, 2020 / by Ken Couture
After a six-month shutdown due to COVID-19, Clark County bars, taprooms and breweries will reopen Sunday night.
Nevada's COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force on Thursday unanimously voted to allow drinking businesses throughout the Las Vegas Valley to reopen with limited capacity, distance between customers and masks all around.
Nightclubs and other entertainment venues remain closed, although Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Wednesday he will review coronavirus directives including a 50-person cap on public gatherings and a 50% capacity limit at businesses including casinos. The outcome could affect everything from church congregations to business meetings to political rallies.
Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick told the task force bar owners in Southern Nevada are committed to following health and safety protocols.
State biostatistician Kyra Morgan revealed the COVID-19 positivity rate dropped from 8.6% to 7.8% between Monday and Thursday. The World Health Organization's recommends that rate should be no higher than 5.0%.
Last week, the Nevada COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force said it would allow bars, taprooms, breweries and wineries in Washoe County to reopen on Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.
For bars, breweries and other establishments around Reno and Las Vegas that don't serve food, it's been almost two months since they were required to close.
Bar-restaurant owners in Nevada have pleaded with the government to lift COVID-19 restrictions that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and left countless employees jobless.
Bars were shut down in March by Gov. Steve Sisolak in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. Bars were allowed to reopen on June 30 but then were required to close again less than a month later, on July 27.
When presented with a motion to consider reopening bars in Clark County last week, task force Chairman Caleb Cage said he could not in good conscience vote to approve such a motion due to its high positivity rate, 11.2 percent.
"It was literally four weeks ago that our hospitals were at surge capacity, in Las Vegas, not around the state, but in Las Vegas," Cage said. Las Vegas's numbers didn't pass muster of national or statewide health recommendations, he said.
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