CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Thursday that Nevada would reimplement restrictions on bars and restaurants in certain counties to prevent further spread of coronavirus due to what he called a “spike” in confirmed cases.

The directive is the second time Nevada has tightened restrictions since the state moved to phase two of its Roadmap to Recovery in early June, allowing businesses including bars, restaurants, casinos and hotels to reopen their doors to customers. The number of confirmed cases rose throughout the month, prompting the governor to announce a statewide mask mandate on June 24.

Under the new directive, which will begin Friday at midnight and be in effect indefinitely, bars that do not serve food will close their doors and end counter service. Restaurants will stop serving parties of six or more. Sisolak did not provide a list of counties where the directive would be in effect, but said it would definitely include Washoe and Clark County, home to Reno and Las Vegas.

Health officials said it’s too early to tell if the mask mandate has effectively prevented the spread of the virus and Sisolak said the move to close bars to in-person service was prompted by reported non-compliance and conversations with federal officials about Nevada’s trajectory. The officials warned that, absent “swift policy,” hospitals in the state could soon be overwhelmed.

Compliance monitors have conducted 1,500 observations of businesses since Nevada’s mask mandate went into effect and found 79% of bars to be in compliance, Sisolak said.

Nevada has reported 24,904 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 571 deaths since the onset of the pandemic. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. 

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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