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Retail Association of Nevada awaiting guidance on which businesses must close

by Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

No one’s business is nonessential to them.

That’s why the Retail Association’s of Nevada Bryan Wachter said, like members of the media and others, are still trying to figure out exactly what the definitions of essential and nonessential businesses.

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening directed all nonessential businesses in Nevada to shut down for the month but gave only general information about which businesses those are. An email asking the governor’s office for clarification got no response Wednesday.

Sisolak did specifically direct casinos, bars and restaurants to close down. Restaurants can continue delivery and take out service but stand-alone bars were ordered to close effective at noon today.

Wachter said the retail association is waiting for more specific guidance from the state so the association can better advise a wide variety of member businesses on what to do.

He said in the meantime, they are asking members to “look at their business model” and determine whether they should close or reduce operations. He said they can do many things including limit the number of people in a store at any one time or highlight delivery and in-store pickup of merchandise to reduce exposure to customers and employees.

Wachter said other state associations across the country report similar issues in defining essential beyond the obvious: public safety, health care providers, grocery stores, pharmacies and the like.

He said the association is working with member businesses to ensure Nevada’s supply chain remains intact so that necessary products continue to be available to those who need them. But right now, he said consumers are buying items like cleaning supplies and toilet paper faster than retailers can restock.

Wachter urged people to focus their purchases on what they need rather than buying for months worth of supplies.

Update: State releases guidelines on essential vs. non-essential services

The state of Nevada has released the following guidelines in the wake of an order from Gov. Steve Sisolak to close non-essential businesses for 30 days.

ESSENTIAL AND NON-ESSENTIAL SERVICES & SECTORS

Essential services and sectors include, but are not limited to:

• Fire services, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services & public

safety agencies

• Healthcare services

• Businesses or organizations that provide food, shelter, or critical social services

for disadvantaged populations

• Utilities as defined in NRS Chapter 704

• Trash collection

• Home maintenance/repair services

• Auto repair services & trucking service centers

• Grocery stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, convenience & discount stores

• Pharmacies, healthcare operations, & biomedical facilities

• Post offices & shipping outlets

• Gas stations & truck stops

• Banks & financial institutions

• Veterinary services & pet stores

• Laundromats & dry cleaners

• Food processing

• Agriculture, livestock & feed mills

• Logistics & Supply Chain Operations: Warehousing, storage, distribution, and

supply-chain related operations

• Public transportation

• Essential stays in hotels, commercial lodging, dormitories, shelters, and homeless

encampments

• Child care centers and daycares operating in accordance with requirements set

forth by their licensing authorities and COVID-19 guidance

Although these businesses may remain open, the Nevada Health Response Center maintains that all employees and patrons employ strict social distancing practices. In addition, businesses should:

• Remind employees of best hygiene practices, including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

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• Increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces, including tables and countertops that are being utilized by employees and patrons during pickup/delivery options.

Other businesses, including but not limited to legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services are encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute.

If that is not possible, they should employ strict social distancing practices as set forth by the Nevada Health Response Center and the CDC.

Non-essential services and sectors include, but are not limited to:

• Entertainment & hospitality, including but not limited to strip clubs and brothels,

casinos, concert venues, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums, large conference rooms,

meeting halls, and cafeterias

• Recreation and athletic facilities, including but not limited to community and

recreation centers, gyms, health clubs, fitness centers, yoga, barre and spin

facilities

• Beauty and personal care services and facilities, including but not limited to

barber shops, beauty, tanning, waxing hair salons, and nail salons and spas

• Retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health

care facilities within retail operations. Retailers are encouraged to continue online operations with pickup and delivery.

FOOD & BEVERAGE ESTABLISHMENTS GUIDANCE

The Governor directed all restaurants and bars to close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive- through food and beverage service may continue to do so, but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited. These businesses offering carry- out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage should employ strict social distancing protocol. Additional information is below:

• Charitable food distribution sites, including the meals being distributed to our students in wake of the school closings, along with grocery stores, should remain fully open and operational.

• Food services for healthcare facilities and other essential facilities should remain open.

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• Any buffet or food stations used in charitable food distribution settings should transition to boxed meals or served through gloved staff members or volunteers.

• Restaurants throughout Nevada, in addition to pubs, wineries, bars, and breweries that include meals provided by a full kitchen should be reduced to serving food only in a drive-thru, take-out or delivery capacity. No dine-in at food establishments should be allowed until further notice. This also includes food courts, coffee shops, catered events, clubs, bowling alleys, and other similar venues in which people congregate for the consumption of food.

• Pubs, wineries, bars, and breweries that do not include meals provided by a full kitchen should close.

For the food establishments allowed to remain open, you should:

• Immediately increase sanitizing and cleaning frequency of high contact areas —

such as restrooms.

• Enforce stringent hygiene practices for your staff, including frequent and

thorough hand washing for at least 20 seconds at a time.

GAMING

The Governor announced that all gaming machines, devices, tables, games, and any equipment related to gaming activity will be shut down. Restaurants and bars located within gaming properties will be subject to the same restrictions as those outside of gaming establishments.

CANNABIS

Licensed cannabis stores and medical dispensaries should only remain open if employees and consumers strictly adhere to the social distancing protocol. The Nevada Health Response Center is encouraging consumers to use delivery services and not congregate in stores.

SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES

Nevadans must ensure that 6 feet of social distancing per person for non-household members is maintained at all times.

Examples of activities to avoid:

• Group gatherings

• Sleepovers

• Concerts and theater outings

• Playdates

• Athletic events

• Visitors in your house

• Non-essential workers in your house

• Shopping in malls

• Workouts in gyms

Initiative parameters on gatherings:

All gatherings should be postponed or canceled.

For purposes of this Initiative, a “gathering” is any event or convening that brings people together in a single room or single space at the same time – indoor or outdoor.

When it comes to gatherings, the risk is based on the proximity between individuals and how they are interacting with one another. The risk does not disappear in small gatherings. It’s the social distancing that will make the difference.

• We still want you to experience the joy of weddings, but this is not the time to bring your friends together — especially if this will require travel. Consider postponing the celebration to a time when the risk is low or eliminated.

• For Nevadans making preparations to say goodbye to loved ones, please limit the attendance at funeral services. Consider outdoor services where the risk of exposure is less than inside.

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• While the Governor cannot and will not say that places of worship should be closed, he strongly urges our faith leaders to find ways to tend to your congregation without bringing them together in person.