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Gov. Steve Sisolak gives a media briefing about the state's response to COVID-19 in Las Vegas on Monday, April 6, 2020. (Jackie Valley/The Nevada Independent)

Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed a directive easing some coronavirus-related restrictions starting May 1, including allowing golf, drive-in worship services and curbside pickup at marijuana dispensaries and other retailers.

But many other elements of the strict “Stay at Home” order are being extended until May 15, including closures of nonessential businesses such as hair salons, bars and casinos. The governor’s office said in a press release that a move to limit business reopenings under a forthcoming “Phase 1” could come sooner if the state continues to show reductions in COVID-19 hospitalizations and other metrics.

In a statement, Sisolak said the state was working to meet the reopening criteria and wanted to “begin some incremental changes” that will make for an easier transition.

“Our ability to enter the next phase and any subsequent phase of reopening will be determined by the continued commitment of Nevadans to follow aggressive social distancing guidance and requirements,” he said.

Sisolak also indicated that even more restrictions could be relaxed sooner than May 15, as long as the state continues positive trends on slowing the spread of the virus along with growth in capacity to test for the coronavirus and to trace the contacts of people who test positive. The governor is scheduled to present a more detailed plan on the state’s “Roadmap to Recovery” during a press conference set for Thursday.

Among the new guidance:

  • For drive-in church services, attendees must remain in their vehicles and keep six feet of distance between themselves and people who don’t live in their household.
  • Outdoor activities including golf, pickleball and tennis are allowed if participants are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Nonessential retail stores can operate through curbside pickup or delivery models, including retail marijuana stores — some of which struggled to quickly transition to a delivery-only model.

The directive also states that Nevadans “should utilize face coverings in public spaces” but does not make it mandatory.

Sisolak is also extending the expiration date of driver’s licenses and other documents issued by the DMV. Those are now valid for 90 days after the DMV offices reopen to the public.

Frustration with the governor’s orders has escalated in recent weeks, with protests happening in cities across the state and Republicans and other groups criticizing the lack of a clear timeline on reopening.

Several rural counties, including Elko, have sent letters or made symbolic moves to urge the governor to more quickly open up the state’s economy, especially in rural areas with lower rates of COVID-19 infection.

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