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Return to normalcy slows amid COVID

It’s become two steps forward and one step backward with returning to normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Gov. Steve Sisolak released Stay at Home 2.0, a request for Nevadans to stay home as much as possible through Tuesday, Nov. 24, in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which is at its highest levels since spring.

This new advisory has caused some local events that were back on to be canceled again including weekend train rides at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

“We cannot, as state museums, invite people to come to a facility when the governor is asking everyone to stay home. … As a state agency, we have a greater responsibility to follow the governor’s guidelines,” said Randy Hees, museum director.

The weekend train rides are canceled through the end of the month and a hold has been put on the daytime Christmas train rides. The newly announced Boulder City Santa Express rides have not been canceled yet.

Hees said the railroad museum outdoor pavilion, however, is still open. The individual cars on it are not.

“People are still welcome to walk around. … We are doing what we can within reason,” said Hees.

Guests must wear face masks and social distance. Additionally, volunteers with the Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway can work on the train cars in the shop. Hees said they follow the health guidelines for capacity and cleaning.

Rail Explorers is still operating as the bikes allow them to social distance. After their ride, they return to the museum in an open-air train car.

Events canceled — again

Boulder City Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Rowland-Lagan said Stay at Home 2.0 forced her to cancel the newly reinstated monthly wine walk.

“We canceled the wine walk because of the request of the governor to stay home and (because) the extra requirements from the health district added to our costs and additional work for merchants,” she said. “We are trying for December.”

The chamber originally planned to resume holding its monthly wine walks after Sisolak loosened some of Nevada’s COVID-19 rules in October and groups of 250 people could attend indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Rowland-Lagan also had to cancel the grand opening of the chamber’s new building due to the advisory. She said this is the second time the event has been canceled.

Sisolak said he wasn’t going to stricter restrictions on business or daily life yet, but if the virus continues its upward trend through Tuesday, Nov. 24, he said he may have to take stronger action.

Some local business owners are worried the stronger action could lead to another shutdown.

Ready to adapt

“We just have to adapt,” said Heather Marianna, owner of Beauty Kitchen Boutique. “As a business owner, it’s been a little crazy.”

Marianna moved her business to a new, larger location at 501 Nevada Way, Suite 5, earlier this month and said she is worried about having to shut it down but is doing what she can to work within that situation.

“We’re stocked up on hand sanitizer and all-purpose cleaner. … If we have to do curbside (pickup) again, we’ll adapt,” she said.

She said the hardest part of the stay-at-home advisory is actually planning events at the store.

Marianna said she has a socially distant shopping event with Orange County housewife Alexis Bellino scheduled for Dec. 5. If the stay-at-home advisory changes or becomes a directive, she may have to cancel it.

“It’s really hard to plan events for the town,” she said.

Mike Collins, owner of My 4 Sons Comics Cards & Games, is another local business owner who is worried about having to shut down his business again.

“It would be the third time this year for us,” he said.

Collins had to close in March when the pandemic started and then in July when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. After recovering, he was able to reopen and even move his business to a larger location at 1308 Wyoming St.

His grand opening was right after Sisolak announced Stay at Home 2.0, and he said it didn’t cause him to have to do anything different than what he was doing before.

“It’s the same safety measures as we’ve had for some time,” he said. “Fifty percent capacity and PPE (personal protective equipment) at all times plus daily multiple cleanings.”

Collins also said his business hasn’t slowed down yet, which he “doesn’t know if that’s good or bad.”

City Hall open

Boulder City Communications Manager Lisa LaPlante said the city had to cancel a public meeting on leash laws, but is still allowing limited attendance to public meetings and visitors to City Hall.

“Attendees must still RSVP (for) meetings and capacity is 15 people,” she said. “City Hall visitor guidelines include: use the available hand sanitizer; take your temperature and show to the attendant; and you must wear a mask. If you don’t have one, one will be given to you. … Staff and visitors should remain 6 feet from others if there is no protective barrier … to separate individuals.”

LaPlante also said visitors must review and answer different questions about their health including: do you have a new cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition; do you have a temperature over 100.4 degrees or higher; do you have new shortness of breath that you cannot attribute to another health condition; and have you come into close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?

Shortly after enacting Stay at Home 2.0, Sisolak tested positive for COVID-19. An update on his Stay at Home 2.0 advisory is expected to be given Tuesday.

Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Bill Dentzer contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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