In late November, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak instituted new COVID-19 restrictions due to an increase in positive cases. A statewide pause began, which included smaller capacities at certain businesses including casinos. Venues went from 50% to 25%, with the new rules expected to last through this week. Now, the governor has extended because case counts are still not under control.

Stricter Requirements Continue

Nevada will continue with its stricter requirements surrounding the virus, including mask-wearing, a 50 person or 25% percent capacity gathering limit as well as private gatherings restricted to 10 people from two households or less. The extension lasts through January 15.

During the announcement on Sunday, Sisolak said that because of the current surge in cases, it is important that the state does everything it can to keep residents in their homes to mitigate the spread of the virus. The rate of infection in Nevada is very high right now with the state reaching higher than ever daily and weekly death totals.

Criticized for Keeping Casinos Open

The governor has been criticized for his efforts to fight COVID-19 including being too restrictive on residents of Nevada while allowing casinos and other gaming properties to stay open. While residents are encouraged to stay home, travelers are encouraged to come and visit the casinos.

Sisolak said that he decided to keep casinos in operation due to so many people losing their jobs last spring during the first closure. He also pointed out that the state relies on gaming revenue to fund services like health care and education. Another shut down would reportedly cost the state around $52 million a month.

“When I think of the gaming industry, I am not losing sleep at night because I’m worried about their stock prices or whether gaming executives are going to make it through the pandemic and be able to keep a roof over their heads,” Sisolak said.

New Mitigation Measure

As part of the continued order, there was one new mitigation measure added. On Tuesday, an eviction moratorium will start and is set to end on March 31. This measure will help keep residents in their homes, applying to tenants who cannot pay rent.

The new order will protect those who rely on the gaming industry and have seen their hours cut or laid off due to the virus. A federal moratorium applying to residential evictions will expire at the end of December. The help comes at a time when officials have told the governor that more families are showing up at shelters for help due to housing issues.