COVID-19: Reno mayor says bars, gyms, restaurants must close; Washoe County, Sparks don’t have same mandate |

COVID-19: Reno mayor says bars, gyms, restaurants must close; Washoe County, Sparks don’t have same mandate

NNBW staff report
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve speaks during a virtual press conference Monday afternoon.
Courtesy YouTube

EDITOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global event, and the situation is fluid — for health updates, please visit the CDC website at The city of Reno has also set up a website with various updates. Further, the NNBW urges you to stay up to date with regional media, including the Nevada Appeal, Reno Gazette Journal and Nevada Independent for continuous updates.  

UPDATE: 9 p.m. Monday: On Monday evening, Washoe County, the Washoe County Health District and the city of Sparks issued a joint statement regarding apparent confusion over the city of Reno’s decision earlier Monday about mandatory business closures.

“At this time, the Washoe County Health District has no mandate to close any establishments in Washoe County,” the statement reads. “The Health District supports business closures and cancelation of large public events to reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19, but it is not mandatory at this time.

“Additionally, the jurisdictions of Washoe County and the City of Sparks have not made a decision to close any businesses at this time due to COVID-19.”

According to an updated story Monday evening from the Reno Gazette Journal, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve reiterated that Reno is mandating bars, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants to close by Friday.

Story updates and the original thread are below:

UPDATE: 5:20 p.m. Monday: As noted in the original story below, the city of Reno was planning to release details about business closures in a press release. Here are the main details from that press release:

  • Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve is ordering mandatory closures of bars, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants (except takeout/delivery/drive through and pick up services) in the city until April 5 unless extended.
  • Those businesses should begin the process of winding down operations starting Tuesday, with the goal of closing by Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m.
  • Casino gambling is still allowed to operate following the directions of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, but casino dining areas in restaurants and bars should be closed. Room service is allowed for guests within properties.
  • The City will be revisiting these rules on a daily basis and will be proactive in keeping the public informed.

“I know there was some confusion around the announcement, so I just want to clarify that these are businesses where groups of people tend to congregate,” Schieve said in the press release. “Let me also clarify that all businesses are essential. I am simply trying to limit areas of high-exposure risk.”

The original story from Monday afternoon ay 4:45 p.m. is below.

RENO, Nev. — The city of Reno is joining several city governments throughout America in calling for nonessential businesses to shut down amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We think that this is the appropriate measure,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said in a virtual press conference Monday afternoon.

She said the city, based on a recommendation from the Washoe County Health District, is asking nonessential businesses such as bars, restaurants, gyms and casinos to close no later than 10 a.m. Tuesday.

This doesn’t include essential businesses like grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies, the mayor said. Further, restaurants throughout the city can still offer drive-thru and order-online options.

When asked by media, Schieve said it will be mandatory that nonessential businesses close at 10 a.m. A press release is forthcoming with details, Schieve said.

In terms of layoffs sure to stem from the order, Schieve said, “we are encouraging everyone who is out of work to file for unemployment,” adding that the city is “hoping and praying” for federal disaster relief funds.

To file for unemployment online, claimants are asked by the state of Nevada to visit

“We are doing this to save lives … and if that’s not enough, I don’t know what is …” Schieve said.

Go here to watch the YouTube recording of press conference; the video begins right around the 12-minute mark.