Nevada Governor Asks All Non-Essential Business To Close

"It's Just Common Sense"- Governor

March 19, 2020 - 5:30 am
Nevada Closed

LAS VEGAS, NV (KXNT) - In an unprecedented, although not entirely surprising move, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday ordered an immediate sweeping closure of all non-essential businesses statewide, including hotels and casinos.

The order, announced during a news conference at Las Vegas’ Grant Sawyer Building, is the boldest step Sisolak has taken to slow the spread of COVID-19, coming on the heels of his March 15 mandate to close schools statewide.

As a result, hotels, casinos, bars, eateries, beauty shops,  movie theaters, shopping centers, and malls must close their doors for 30 days. Pharmacies and grocery stores, which have been overwhelmed by panic-stricken consumers, will be allowed to remain open; and restaurants that are closing their dining rooms must transition to curbside delivery options. 

“If your business brings people together, it should not be open,” Sisolak said, explaining that gaming devices, including slot machines at bars and grocery stores, were to be turned off by midnight. Businesses were expected to close by noon Wednesday.

Essential business that will remain in operation include fire and police departments, banks, hospitals, pharmacies, urgent care facilities, and doctor’s offices. 

“In order for those who need critical care to be able to receive it, the rest of us have to do our part,” the governor said, imploring Nevadans not to risk their health or the health of others by engaging in social activities such as sleepovers, play dates, and outings with friends.

The order, Sisolak explained, was intended to end public gatherings, and at many times during the news conference, he appeared frustrated that appeals for “social distancing” were being ignored.

“You are being told not to go out. You are being told not to go out,” Sisolak repeated. “You owe it to first responders to listen to that directive.”

Several of the state’s largest gaming companies had already closed for business or were in the process of closing prior to Sisolak’s news conference. MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts announced on Sunday that the companies would shutter their Nevada properties. On Tuesday, Las Vegas Sands Corporation followed suit with the announced closures of the Venetian and Palazzo resorts and Las Vegas Sands Convention Center.

Though some gaming companies, including Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Boyd Gaming, sought to weather the storm and remain open, Sisolak’s order supersedes those decisions.

“My ultimate goal here is to come together as Nevadans, to save lives,” he said.

Clark County on Tuesday informed residents that nearly all county government buildings would be closed until further notice. McCarran International Airport, University Medical Center, and the County Marriage License Bureau would remain open, although the latter would be operating with reduced hours. The Clark County School District, the nation’s fifth-largest school district, as well as all Nevada schools, are closed until at least April 6.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who last week condemned media coverage of the pandemic, declared a state of emergency in the city, and the state has launched a new Nevada Health Response website to keep the public up to date on developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.  

To promote the website, Sisolak touted a sign at his news conference – a play on the state slogan “Home Means Nevada” – which read “Stay Home For Nevada.”

Nevada now has 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19. One person has died as a result of the virus.