Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is extending his directive asking people to stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus until May 15. But he will ease restrictions on other outdoor activities and some businesses starting Friday.
Sisolak's office said Wednesday night that he would allow starting May 1 retail businesses and marijuana dispensaries to offer curbside pickup, as restaurants have been doing. He will also allow drive-in church and other religious services, as long as participants stay in their cars and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from those outside their household.
The governor said he was also once again allowing golf courses, pickleball and tennis courts to open Friday, as long as they can do so safely.
The updates Wednesday night came hours after the governor teased the announcements in an interview with ABC News.
Sisolak said in the interview that Nevada's cases and deaths from COVID-19 have reached a plateau, but he wants to see declines before lifting his directive that people stay home outside of essential trips He said the opening of Las Vegas casinos likely won’t happen until the third or fourth phase of his gradual reopening plan, but he has has not released any more details or timeline.
The governor's office said Wednesday night that if the numbers “continues in a positive direction” then he may ease more restrictions after May 15.
He plans to offer a more detailed reopening plan sometime Thursday.
Frustrated Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Sisolak's office Wednesday morning seeking definitive timelines for more economic activity to resume and a bipartisan task force to come up with a reopening strategy. They also want more workers hired and shifting of existing government workers to handle the crush of unemployment claims.
State health officials reported 237 deaths statewide from the coronavirus outbreak. The health department also reported nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
In other developments:
• Union nurses and healthcare workers at Las Vegas hospitals promised three days of protests to highlight their call for an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation of employee protection. The Service Employees International Union planned separate job actions Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at three HCA Healthcare hospitals. Union board member and nurse Jody Domineck said workers want the company to require protection beyond U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
• Nevada education administrators posted a 15-page “Path Forward Plan” for finishing the school semester without reopening campuses while planning to reopen for the 2020-2021 academic year. The state Department of Education document follows the governor’s decision not to reopen schools this school year. It says a committee will be formed next month to recommend how to resume classes for about 500,000 students at 700 public and charter schools statewide.
• Health officials in Las Vegas want to increase testing for COVID-19 and expect to at least double from 54 to more than 100 the number of investigators assigned to find people and places associated with those who test positive.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.