What’s it really like to be in “phase one,” in Reno, NV

With Nevada in phase one of reopening, businesses have begun to open their doors once again, while following the guidelines they have been given, including staff wearing mandatory masks and gloves, and plastic shields wherever feasible.

What is Phase One? 

 Governor Sisolak’s phase one includes hair salons, barbershops, retail stores, brewpubs, and restaurants that can open but at half capacity. The guidelines include accommodating six feet apart rule that many grocery stores have implemented, and limits on parties. Some restaurants that have opened currently require their customers to put a reservation ahead of time. 

What to expect when you now go to a restaurant?

Anarita Ibarra, a student at the University of Reno, was able to celebrate her 21st birthday at Texas Roadhouse.

“We saw that two days before my birthday, that Texas Roadhouse hadn’t opened yet. But Gio (Ibarra’s boyfriend) called the next day to see if they were open, and they were,” stated Ibarra.

The couple was able to make reservations but had to leave two younger family members with family due to only having eight people at a party.
She also states that her experience was not as different as before COVID-19 in regards to the atmosphere.

Behind the Scenes

Josue Magallon, manager of Taqueria Los 3 Toritos in Sparks, has been able to stay open during the lockdown with the use of their drive-thru. They have thrived during the pandemic.
“Our clientele has gone up, oddly,” says a baffled Magallon.

Though the taqueria has had the good fortune to stay open, it’s also affected by the virus. Many of the restaurant employees have not been showing up due to the fear of contracting the virus.

“We’ve been trying to find more employees, but it’s been really hard,” states Magallon.

He mentioned there had been a change with their customers, ranging from their emotional reaction of being “super precautious,” to merely believing the virus is a “myth.” Magallon also states that sadly the virus has brought out the negative aspects out of their customers.

“Since we’ve been short-staffed, sometimes we do get complaints that our food takes a little too long to get out there—but we just brush it off,” said Magallon.

In the scenario that businesses are put back under lockdown, Magallon does not worry. He states that they’ve planned ahead, with their funds and drive-thru.

But not every business has been as lucky as Los 3 Toritos. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria is only now opening their dine-in option.

“I did think it was kind of too soon, just because there are so many people exposing themselves,” says Joanna Flores, the pizzeria’s hostess and senior at Sparks High School.

She barely started to work again last week. Since the lockdown, she has been out of her job and had to apply for unemployment.

Flores is happy to be working again, but she does feel fear and worry, not about her health but of her older parents. Since returning to work, she has taken every precaution she can to prevent bringing the virus home and endangering her family.

“I am very cautious; I’m always wearing gloves and masks. When I get home, I go shower and take off the clothes I was wearing.”

While Reno locals have different views on the speed of reopening, many are happy to be in the process of going back to “normal” – at least, for the time being. Watch our video for more insights. 

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Featured image courtesy of Matthew Henry

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