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COVID-19 Information for Businesses in Washoe County

The page outlines the requirements for specified business and industry operations in Washoe County during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cities of Reno and Sparks, as well as Washoe County and the State of Nevada, have issued declarations of emergency to fight COVID-19 in our community.

We follow guidance from the Governor’s Office and Nevada’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force as to which businesses can stay open and what precautions businesses should take to safely operate. 

We’ve summarized some of the business information from the State below. However, you should reference the Governor Directives and Declarations and guidance for businesses on the Nevada Health Response website for detailed information:

Businesses and events that are currently closed:

Special events & gatherings of more than 50 people

  • Adult entertainment establishments
  • Nightclubs & day clubs


Businesses that can currently operate, with restrictions:

  • Gyms & Fitness Facilities (including studios)
  • Bars, Taverns, Pubs, Breweries, Wineries
  • Body Art Establishments
  • Skin Care Salons
  • Massage Services
  • Summer Camps (day and residential)
  • Aquatic Facilities/Swimming Lessons (local and public pools)
  • Bars
  • Childcare Facilities
  • Houses of Worship

Essential businesses that are currently allowed to operate:

These establishments include, but are not limited to:

  • Healthcare services
  • Business that sell or rent medical supplies
  • Essential infrastructure operations like construction & manufacturing, agriculture, and utilities
  • Entities that provide food, shelter, or social services for vulnerable populations
  • Transportation
  • Lodging – Local agencies will not further define or limit which stays are considered essential and will allow essential stays to exceed the 28-day limit otherwise applicable to lodging facilities
  • Childcare facilities
  • Media services
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, home security, and other similar service providers


The Nevada COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force ordered gatherings to be no more than 50. The Washoe County Health District’s current recommendation is to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer, with social distancing and face coverings. All other State of Nevada guidelines are in place for Washoe County residents and businesses and may be found here.

The Washoe County Health District recently stated it won’t allow large events of more than 250 due to a lack of adequate health Infrastructure. Read more here.

Other State of Nevada announcements related to gatherings: 

Business / Employer Guidance

  • All employers shall require employees who interact with the public to wear face coverings, to the maximum extent practicable.

  • Adopt an OSHA plan (to include social distancing and sanitation measures) to prevent COVID-19 and obey directives. Staff must be trained on the business’ plan. The business’ plan does not need to be submitted to any permitting organization but must be available upon request by the state/regional licensing/permitting agency for the business type. The business’ plan for ensuring employee/customer safety must be prominently displayed for all to see in public and employee spaces.
  • Mandate employees and encourage customers to wear face coverings
  • Encourage telework when possible and feasible with business operations
  • Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact or enforce strict social distancing protocols
  • Ensure sick leave policies are flexible/non-punitive (follow guidance from the Nevada Labor Commissioner regarding sick leave policies)
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for staff who are members of a vulnerable population
  • Consider employee symptom self-assessment (fever, cough or shortness of breath)
  • Strongly encourage sick employees to stay home until fever/symptom free
  • Promptly separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms
  • Frequently perform enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly touched surfaces per CDC guidelines
  • Implement separate operating hours for the elderly and vulnerable customers
  • Designate with signage, tape or by other means, six feet of spacing for employees, customers, clients or members to maintain appropriate distance
  • Have hand sanitizer, and sanitizing products, readily available for employees and customers

Must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with the social distancing and sanitation requirements, including, where possible, the following:

  • Designate Six-Foot (6) Distances: designating with signage, tape or by other means, six (6) feet of spacing for employees, customers, clients or members to maintain appropriate distance
  • Hand Sanitizer and Sanitizing Products: having hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol), and sanitizing products, readily available for employees and customers
  • Separate Operating Hours for Vulnerable Populations: implementing separate operating hours for the senior and vulnerable customers
  • Online and Remote Access: posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and to continue services by phone or remotely

Businesses must create individualized plans to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of their employees and customers/guests. Anyone with concerns that a business is operating in a manner that is hazardous to the health of employees and customers/guests is encouraged to report to the appropriate regulatory body:

For employee concerns related to their workplace safety and compliance with these guidelines Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the appropriate enforcement agency and can be reached by calling 775-684-7270. Additional information can be found at NV OSHA.

Each entities’ compliance staff will investigate complaints regarding businesses that are not in compliance with the COVID-19 directives and reopening restrictions. The agencies are giving initial courtesy notices and informational guidance packets to non-compliant businesses. If businesses still refuse to operate in accordance with the guidelines, law enforcement will be notified, which may result in citations, fines, and possible revocation of business licenses.

Business License Fees

The City of Reno, City of Sparks, and Washoe County are working with businesses to provide support related to local licensing fees.

  • The City of Sparks, City of Reno and Washoe County are working directly with businesses and individuals and on a case-by-case basis depending on need. Businesses are requested to contact the appropriate jurisdiction for more information.
Other Resources

Business Resiliency Plan: The Nevada Small Business Development Center (Nevada SBDC) Business Resiliency Toolkit includes a small business resiliency plan and links to help small business owners plan for disruption from natural disasters to infrastructure failures to pandemics.