LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has unveiled a new progressive timeline to relax restrictions on capacity limits and gathering sizes as key trends related to COVID-19 and its severity and spread across the state continue to decline.
The new plan calls for capacity limits on some businesses, such as restaurants and bars, to relax from 25% allowed to 35%, as long as social distancing can be maintained.
"For us, any relaxing of restrictions is helpful," said Tabitha Simmons, the co-owner of Firefly* Tapas Kitchen & Bar.
"I don't know how much 35% versus 25% is going to affect our actual business," she added. "We still have the physical limitations of the number of people at a table and the distance between tables."
Simmons' other two restaurants, Firefly on Paradise Road and nearby Tacos and Beer, are both temporarily closed due to slow business.
"It's hard to get excited given how up and down this has been since it started," said Simmons. "The fact of the vaccine is out there and being administered makes us more hopeful."
On Thursday, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced his Roadmap to Recovery, Safe Reopening Plan which calls for a staggered approach to lifting capacity limits on most businesses and restoring the state to 50% capacity limits by March 15.
Eventually, the plan calls for restriction management to be handed over to local control by May 1.
"I believe this plan can work, I believe it will work," said Gov. Sisolak during the news conference.
"But we must all invest in making it successful; 75 days to trust the science, listen to our public health experts, mask up, get a vaccine if eligible, practice social distancing and see our numbers decline," said Gov. Sisolak.
All key indicators of COVID-19 in Nevada continue to show downward trends including new cases and hospital stays connected to the virus.
Gov. Sisolak said large events could return as soon as March 1 if safety plans are submitted ahead of time and approved by state and local officials.
"I think for a lot of business owners in the valley, we are still really dependent on tourist business," said Simmons. "And if tourists are scared to come to Las Vegas, it is going to affect business. That's just the reality of it."
Simmons says the boost in capacity could mean her two closed restaurants may be closer to reopening.
She is hoping the relaxed restrictions means the return of the convention business.
The governor mentioned the World of Concrete convention in his news conference and said it is still scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in June.