Push back on Washoe County reopening plan amendments

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 10:42 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Proposed changes to Washoe County’s COVID-19 reopening plan could affect your daily life starting May 1, 2021, but some health leaders are not on board.

After more than a year of living under Coronavirus restrictions, county leaders are butting heads on how to move our community forward safely.

“This is not just a free-for-all,” Kitty Jung with the Washoe County Board of Commissioners said, “This is going to be data-driven, with the balance in mind as to how to we create a great county and community.”

Oscar Delgado, District Board of Health Chair and Reno City Councilman said, “I will not support any revisions that our public health professionals don’t believe will harm the progress we’ve made related to COVID-19.”

Last week, the Board of Commissioners voted to amend the county’s reopening plan once local authorities take over on May 1, after it received input from the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, Washoe County Health District (WCHD), and Washoe County School District (WCSD).

“While I respect my colleagues on the County Commission, we can’t underestimate the risk of a new wave of COVID-19 infections and the impact it can have on the community and our economy,” Delgado said.

The amendments include:

  • 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 exercises, such as working out at a gym or athletic activities
  • Vaccination rate of 50% to lessen current restrictions
  • Allow full reopening to depend on hospitalization rates instead of vaccination rate percentages (Metrics to be brought to the board every two weeks for review)

“I don’t think that we are in a position to be able to fully support all of the recommendations that were made by the Board of County Commissioners,” Kevin Dick, Washoe County Health Officer said.

According to Governor Steve Sisolak, the state’s mask mandate will continue to be in place after May 1.

Dick added, “What happens here in Washoe County and in Nevada is going to also depend on people’s personal behaviors and the precautions that they’re taking.”

A spokesperson with the City of Reno said the management team is waiting to see the latest plan from the county before commenting on it.

“We’re not out of this yet and we still need to be very careful.”

Kevin Dick, Washoe County Health Officer

Washoe County Commissioners will need to approve the amended version on Wednesday, April 14. The proposed plan will then be reviewed by the Nevada COVID-19 Task Force on April 15. If approved by the task force and the Governor, it may go into effect on May 1.

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