Road to business recovery begins |

Road to business recovery begins

Cheshire Aniques has its open sign out on Friday in downtown Gardnerville.
Kurt Hildebrand

A week after the state closed down a Gardnerville antique store, it will reopen under the same precautions the owners said they’d implemented in the first place.

Gov. Steve Sisolak allowed “nonessential” businesses to reopen starting Saturday by encouraging people to practice social distance, wash their hands and wear masks.

Last week, Cheshire Antiques was closed by an agent of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. The store has reopened for curbside service, and under the governor’s directive issued on Thursday afternoon, will be allowed to let customers inside.

One of the first businesses to voluntarily close as a result of the coronavirus outbreak has reopened. Sunshine and Rainbows was notified of a coronavirus contact March 18, the same day a Douglas woman in her 30s became the first reported case in the county. The daycare wasn’t required to close, but did so out of an abundance of caution.

On Thursday night, Carson City Health and Human Resources reported one new coronavirus case, a Lyon County woman in her 20s. Douglas County continues to have three active cases and 19 recoveries, the highest percentage in the four counties including Carson, Lyon and Storey.

Even with the new case, Lyon County recoveries exceed the number of active cases, 19-18. The coronavirus has yet to visit Storey County, which has zero cases. The four-county area has had one death and three hospitalized as a result of the virus.

Douglas County’s Public Health Officer Dr. John Holman said Friday that he felt county residents had done an excellent job of reducing the effects of the coronavirus.

“This is a really serious illness and as a county we’ve been taking it very seriously and doing the things we need to really flatten the curve,” he said.

Holman recommended that even with the governor’s order opening some businesses, residents should still be cautious when they go out.

“My personal opinion is that going out to the shopping area for food is as dangerous as going anyplace because of the number of people there,” he said. “It’s so easy to catch this virus because there are people who don’t have symptoms or think they have allergies.

On Monday, asymptomatic coronavirus testing comes to Douglas County. Deputy Douglas County Emergency Manager Dave Fogerson said that the four counties have conducted 800 tests so far, and that for the 200 tests that have been processed, none were positive.

He said Douglas officials are meeting with their counterparts at Carson City Health and Human Services in addition to Lyon and Storey counties to coordinate the response to the coronavirus.

“We’re knocking the socks off everyone else in the state, and we’re doing that by being able to boost our numbers.”

Fogerson said there are 180 people assigned to the coronavirus incident so far, something no one county could do on its own.

Sheriff Dan Coverley expressed concerns about the increased number of mental health issues deputies are dealing with in the county.

“We are seeing a lot of people from outside the area,” Coverley said. “They’re transient coming through, or have been dropped off here by someone else.”

Health and Human Services Director Jeanne Freeman said that the state is seeking requests from the counties for funding to hire crisis counselors for social services.

Douglas County Social Services Manager Karen Beckerbauer said she’s been talking with the county’s behavioral health providers to see where those grants can best be used.

Coverley said increasing the number of days the county offers the MOST program would help deal with the issues.

“If we could increase the days we can go out that would bhe bejneficial,” he said. “I’m all for that.”

On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners discussed the impact of the virus on the budget.

About half of the county’s general fund comes from property tax, which is predicted to remain stable at $23.8 million, though there are concerns that at some point people might not be able to make their mortgages.

Sales tax revenues across the state are predicted to drop, with the county preparing for a $1.6 million decrease to $11.6 million.

The building slow-down is predicted to result in a $266,506 decrease in building permit fees.

In all, the county has so far budgeted for a $2.5 million decrease in revenue, but Chief Financial Officer Terry Willoughby said that will be revised as the impacts of the closure come into sharper view.

Particularly hard hit by the closure of the casinos are room tax revenues which fund community services. Also facing reduced funding is the Douglas County Public Library, which is supported by the PALS sales tax.