A plan for the reopening of Douglas County was presented to the Nevada COVID-19 Task Force on Thursday.
The Task Force publicly reviews the plans and offers ideas, Nevada Emergency Manager Dave Fogerson said, clearing the way for it to go into effect on May 1.
County Manager Patrick Cates thanked county commissioners before the panel, saying the board wanted to support businesses despite having reservations about the plan.
“I would like to thank Douglas County Board of commissioners for supporting this plan in what is in rural Nevada a pretty challenging political environment,” Cates told the task force. “They want to support our businesses and reopening in a lawful manner.”
The plan was approved April 15 by county commissioners after some debate over whether to remove the mask mandate.
“Our plan acknowledges the legal authority of state directives including Directive 24 regarding masks,” Cates said. “We will encourage all businesses to follow the directives.”
Douglas is not flagged in any of the categories being tracked by the state as of Thursday.
Cates said that the county’s efforts have been focused on education more than enforcement.
He pointed out that Douglas County doesn’t have a business license and a limited capacity to enforce rules at the businesses.
The county plans to be open 100 percent on May 1 with no limitations on public events. Cates said the county has capacity to do more vaccinations.
Quad County Preparedness Manager Jeanne Freeman said Carson City Health and Human Services is in Douglas County to offer vaccinations.
“We’ve seen a decline in the number of people being vaccinated,” she said.
While the rates are higher than those for influenza vaccinations, the agency tried something different on Thursday, reserving some vaccinations for people who want to walk in.
“Sometimes people don’t want to make an appointment,” she said. “They get a hankering that ‘Today, I want to get the vaccine.’ We’re working to open up those opportunities.”
Task Force Director Caleb Cage thanked the rural counties for their efforts.
“These are extremely challenging, and I don’t want to minimize that in any way,” he said. “I appreciate the differing perspectives from the state and local level. You’ve done a fantastic job of threading the needle.”
Approval of the reopening plan will mean several Carson Valley events that were canceled last year may go forward, including Carson Valley Days and Douglas High School graduation, and the several Fourth of July celebrations.
April 30 marks a year since Douglas County commissioners led a caravan to the Capitol seeking to reopen its businesses. By that time the state had been on lockdown due to the virus for around six weeks.
While businesses were allowed to reopen at the beginning of June 2020, it was with limited capacity.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said he hopes to have the state fully open with only a mask mandate remaining by June 1.
Free community coronavirus testing returns to the Douglas County Community and Senior Center 9-10:30 a.m. May 5 and 19. Testing is available to residents of Douglas, Carson, Lyon and Storey counties.