Local retailers and restaurateurs are breathing easier and watching their businesses improve now that more people can gather together in public.
As of Saturday, May 1, Clark County officials are allowing businesses to operate at 80 percent capacity instead of 50, and social distancing requirements are now 3 feet instead of 6.
On April 13, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the May 1 removal of the statewide social distancing mandate and transition to local authority for COVID-19 mitigation measures.
Jill Bunch, owner of Chilly Jilly’z, said the new capacity limit will “definitely improve” her business.
“We will now be able to seat up to 10 people per table,” she said. “Previously a group of seven or more would have to have two tables, so this will really help us … be able to accommodate more customers for each dining service.”
“It’s better,” said Tony Scott, owner of Big T’s Cantina. “It’s nice not having the restrictions outside.”
Scott said once he could have more people eat outdoors he was able to start holding karaoke on Fridays and hosting musical guests on Saturdays.
“We’re in pretty good shape right now,” he said.
Library services expand
The higher capacity limit is also allowing the Boulder City Library to resume more of its operations, according to Assistant Director Anne Karr.
Karr said more tables and chairs are back on the library floor as well as computer stations.
“Once furniture is transitioned, we will have the community room space freed for meetings,” she said. “We do not anticipate scheduling the space before June however.”
Karr also said the outreach programs, including homebound and senior facility visits, are resuming.
The increased capacity will also allow more people to attend city meetings and removes the requirement for seat reservations.
“We understand that there are still individuals who may feel better viewing the meetings via our live stream,” said Acting City Manager Michael Mays. “We are pleased to continue to offer that option to those who are not comfortable in a public setting, as well as those who can’t make the meeting due to other issues.”
The new rules allow for larger gatherings and events to be held. All special events of more than 250 people will need to have a permit from the Clark County working group. The ones with 250 people or less will not.
Due to these new rules, Karr said the library will be able to hold an in-person event next week.
“The library is sponsoring an outdoor movie on May 14th,” she said. “The capacity limit will remain at 250 because the library does not have a special event permit, but the staff is excited to once again offer an in-person event.”
George Rosenbaum, Rotary Club of Boulder City president, said they are applying for 80 percent capacity for this year’s Best Dam Barbecue Challenge, which is scheduled May 28-29. They already received approval from the state to hold it before control switched over to Clark County.
The annual event will still be free to attend and includes most of its usual activities including the KidsQue, marketplace and food vendors.
Rosenbaum said one thing that won’t be at this year’s event is the kids’ area with the bouncy houses and other play items.
“It’s hard to clean,” he said.
He said there will be a climbing wall that people can pay to climb.
“Residents still need to be responsible moving forward,” added Will Gray, COVID-19 response incident commander and fire chief for Boulder City. “Vaccinating our residents and disease surveillance are major priorities for us as we move closer to Governor (Steve) Sisolak’s goal of reopening the state to 100 percent on June 1.”
No face coverings
Other changes to COVID mitigation efforts include the elimination of the need to wear face masks or coverings outdoors. On Monday Sisolak issued Emergency Directive 045 that brings Nevada’s face covering mandate into agreement with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Per the CDC, those who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks for outdoor activities except in certain crowded settings. An unvaccinated person can also go maskless to small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people. Everyone, however, should keep wearing masks at crowded outdoor events such as concerts or sporting events.
A fully vaccinated person is someone who is two weeks out from either their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at email@example.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.