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Commissioners vote 4 to 1 in favor of amended reopening plan

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 11:53 AM PDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 12:54 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - UPDATE: Washoe County Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to move forward with a reopening plan with proposed amendments.

Amendments include removing social distancing minimums as soon as 50 percent of the population in Washoe County is vaccinated.

The transition of mitigation management to local authorities begins May 1, but proposed plans must be submitted to the State COVID Task Force on April 15.

Washoe County Assistant County Manager and Incident Commander David Solaro consulted and collaborated with the business community, as well as the City of Reno, City of Sparks, the Washoe County Health District and the Washoe County School District to develop the plan.

“I appreciate you, Mr. Solaro, and the manager for putting this together, being the local leader and being acknowledged by the governor as the local leader and the expert as to how we’re going to open up,” Commissioner Kitty Jung said. “I know this is a working draft, but I think it is the best and most thoughtful. There has been a lot of crafting of this behind the scenes, and let’s continue the conversations and get through this.”

“COVID will always be here, it’s how we manage it,” Chair Bob Lucey said. Lucey made a motion to approve the plan with the following amendments:

  • Allow 10 people to a group in restaurants and event settings
  • Eliminate social distance minimums for outdoor events
  • Private gatherings are un-enforceable, so they should not be addressed in the plan
  • Masks will not be required during exercise, such as working out at a gym or athletic activities.
  • Vaccination rate of 50 percent to lessen current restrictions (for example, to move from 6 feet of distancing to 3 feet indoors)
  • Remove 75 percent vaccination rate as a trigger to move to full pre-COVID operations. Full reopening would depend on hospitalization rates instead. Metrics to be brought to the board every two weeks for review.

Commissioners will need to ratify the amended version on April 14. The proposed plan will be then be reviewed by the State of Nevada COVID Task Force on April 15. Upon approval by the Task Force and governor, it may go into effect on May 1.

ORIGINAL STORY: A new COVID-19 mitigation plan calls for state restrictions to ease once the vaccination rate in Washoe County reaches 75 percent.

Back in February, Governor Steve Sisolak announced a goal of transitioning mitigation management to local authorities starting May 1.

A plan released by Washoe County outlines objectives and guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 including monitoring the virus in the community, protecting vulnerable populations, contact tracing efforts, mitigation enforcement, and more.

The plan also outlines certain benchmarks that must be reached in order for the easing of restrictions.

Under the new plan, if 60 percent of the county gets vaccinated, the county will relax social distancing from six feet to four feet indoors and three feet outdoors.

If 75 percent of the county gets vaccinated, all social distancing requirements will be dropped except the mask mandate.

Currently, the vaccine rate in Washoe County is more than 23 percent of people 16 and older.

A state mask mandate will continue to be in place after May 1. The governor has not announced criteria for the mask mandate to be lifted.

Both the county and State COVID Task Force must give their approval of the plan.

County Commissioners will discuss the plan during a special meeting Thursday, April 8.

See the full plan below:

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