Answers about non-essential businesses and the closure order

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RENO, NEV., (KOLO) -- It may come as little surprise that one person's idea of what's essential may not be the same as the next person.

So people are calling reporting businesses they believe are not complying with the governor's order that all non-essential businesses should close for a 30 day period.

The first point Sheriff Darin Balaam wants you to know is those calls shouldn't be coming in to the 9-1-1 emergency line as many were initially.

"We still get them every now and then, but I think the message has gotten out--and it appears so--that if you're calling about businesses being open call 3-11, not 9-1-1, 9-1-1 is for emergencies."

The reports are turned over to Code Enforcement officers who follow up with the business owner. If it turns out they fall into the non-essential category, they're issued a warning.

"And code enforcement will follow up 48 hours to see if they've complied. If at that point they don't, they will call the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. We'll send a deputy out. We'll make contact with the business owner, try to get them to comply. We'll follow up 48 hours later to see if they've complied. If, at that time they have not, we will issue a citation."

Balaam says he knows closing up shop is a serious sacrifice, especially for small businesses, but he says it's important.

"Personally I have a son with medical issues who has one lung. I can't afford to have my son get sick and so for those business owners I understand the impact, but understand there are families like myself, so I ask them to consider that. It's a short time and I know financially it's a big impact, but the loss of a family member or loved one is more grave than the financial impact. So I ask them to consider that."

If you've got questions about what businesses are considered essential you'll find a list of categories  on our website.

Any calls about business closure compliance should go to 3-1-1, not the 9-1-1 emergency line.
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