Dec. 30, 2020. Reno/Sparks, NV – The Washoe County Health District is recommending that residents refrain from attending or hosting any New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day gatherings with people outside of your household due to risk of COVID-19 transmission and the complications it can have on vulnerable populations.
The Health District urges residents to maintain gatherings with members of your household and find ways to spend time with friends and family in a non-contact setting, such as through phone or virtually.
There have been 474 COVID-19 related deaths in Washoe County. The risk to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions like obesity and hypertension are significant.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has defined underlying health conditions that can lead to higher risk for COVID-19 implications.
The CDC has also recommended safer ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve if you plan to gather with non-household members. Wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing of 6 feet and frequent hand washing are the main ones. Other safe measures include:
If you host a celebration

Talk with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
Limit the number of guests (The Governor has restricted private gatherings to no more than ten people from no more than two households).
Keep celebrations outdoors, if possible.
If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout.
It’s okay if you decide to postpone or cancel your gathering. Do what’s best for you.

If you attend a celebration

It’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others.
If traveling for a celebration, know what to do before, during, and after travel.
Bring your own food, drinks, and disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
Wear a mask indoors and outdoors and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
Avoid alcohol and drugs that can alter judgement and make it difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Avoid shouting and singing.
Avoid areas where food is prepared, such as the kitchen.
Use single-use options, like condiment packets.

The most common activity associated with COVID-19 cases in Washoe County has been small gatherings like holiday celebrations, barbecues, birthday parties, weddings and other social activities. More information on COVID-19 in Washoe County can be found on our COVID-19 Dashboard.
The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.