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Restricted gaming locations in seven counties across Nevada have been ordered to close again, following a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Las Vegas is included in the new restrictions, which will last for at least two weeks before being assessed. 

Bars will also be ordered to close, as will pubs, distilleries, wineries that do not serve food and breweries. Of the wineries that do serve food and are allowed to remain open, they will stay limited to their current capacity restrictions of 50%. 

COVID-19 has also recently spiked in other states across the US, including Arizona and Texas. 

Further relaxing of measures unlikely until at least the end of the month 

The seven counties in which places licensed to have slot machines have been ordered to close are Clark (including Las Vegas), Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Nye and Washoe County. 

For each of these parts of the state, the next assessment will take place on July 24th. 

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak had the following to say about the situation. 

“We know that Covid-19 can easily spread when people are congregating for long periods of time, like inside a bar. In states where we have seen significant spikes, such as Arizona, Texas and Florida, they have all taken actions to roll back bars.

“Recently, Dr Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, advised that congregating in bars poses a significant risk and is one of the most dangerous things people could do right now. We must heed his advice.”

Sisolak also added that it’s unlikely that the Battle Born State will see new restrictions relaxed until at least the end of this month. 

Nevada sees a spike in COVID cases

Casinos in Nevada had originally been allowed to reopen on June 4th, after being forced to close temporarily in March due to the spread of the virus. These venues are currently operating at a limited capacity, with various safety measures put in place. 

 For the time being, they will not have to shut their doors again. However, the situation is moving fast and this might change if infections continue to rise. 

On Friday July 10th, Nevada reported 1,000 new cases of COVID-19. At the time of writing on Tuesday July 14th, a total of 28,597 tests have been positive – with 596 deaths. 

Industry analyst and consultant Jeff Hwang told Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) that a lack of consistency in safety measures has led to increasing infections. For example, some casinos have installed plexiglass barriers but others have not. 

He also said that visitors coming in from states that have not dealt with the virus is leading to further problems. 

“Every place on the planet that has the coronavirus under control has some form of visitor restrictions. Taiwan, Hawaii, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau – they’ve all been able to lock down their borders.

“Until we can stop visitors from coming in… stop people from visiting, we are going to continue to see an outbreak.”

He also went on to say that by shutting down the reasons that people visit places like Las Vegas, such as bars, it stops people from traveling and therefore can help to lower the infection rate. 

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