What to know about mask mandates ending in Nevada

2022-06-25 03:16:56 By : Mr. Bin Ning

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced an end to the state's mask mandate Thursday morning, ending a regulation that had been in place since late July 2021. Here's what we know:

Effective immediately, the governor has lifted the mandate to wear face masks in public places in Nevada. The governor cited a decreasing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state and the abundant supply of vaccines as reasons for lifting the mandate.

Live:WCSD to lift mask mandate for students, staff as Sisolak ends statewide mandate

Within the Washoe County School District, the mask mandate for students and staff will end after the end of the school day on Thursday. The Clark County School District in Southern Nevada has made a similar announcement. 

Masks will continue to be available for distribution at schools. Students and staff may continue to wear masks if they choose to do so. The district said its human resources department will work with individuals to make ADA accommodations as necessary.

The Nevada System of Higher Education issued an update Thursday afternoon to announce that masking requirements would end on all NSHE campuses, including the University of Nevada, Reno, Truckee Meadows Community College, the Desert Research Institute, Great Basin College, Western Nevada College, UNLV, Nevada State College and the College of Southern Nevada.

Locations and services that operate under federal regulations — namely airports, airplanes, trains, federal courthouses, public transit and school buses — will continue to require masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Taxis also fall under these regulations. These mask mandates only can be changed by federal officials, not by state or local officials.

Individual cities, counties and school districts still may establish their own mask mandates. Hospitals and private businesses will be able to establish and enforce their own rules regarding masks and other COVID protocols on their property.

It doesn't appear so. Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick issued a statement shortly after Gov. Sisolak's announcement supporting continued mask-wearing, but acknowledged that "this decision has been left to each of us; it is important that we respect one another’s decisions."

They did once before. Masking had been the rule in Nevada from March 2020 through May 2021, when the first mandate was lifted for the fully vaccinated. But masking in public returned in late July 2021 amid a surge in new cases, as Sisolak tied the state's masking rules to guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

To date, Washoe County has reported more than 100,000 cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. This case count does not include positive tests taken at home and unreported to county officials. Just over 1,100 deaths in the county have been attributed to COVID-19; Washoe has averaged two COVID deaths per day over the past two weeks.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 104 confirmed cases and seven suspected cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County hospitals on Wednesday, down from recent highs of 200-plus known and suspected cases in late January. Hospitals in Washoe County and Carson City are at "alert" staffing levels, according to the Nevada Hospital Association.

Statewide, 67% of Nevada's population 5 and older had initiated vaccination through Wednesday, with 56% fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Among Washoe County residents, 74% had initiated vaccination, the highest rate in the state, with 64% fully vaccinated.

Brett McGinness is the engagement editor for the Reno Gazette Journal. He's also the writer of The Reno Memo — a free newsletter about news in the Biggest Little City. Subscribe to the newsletter right here. Consider supporting the Reno Gazette Journal, too.