| Reno Gazette Journal
Editor’s note: This is story is part of a week-long series by the Reno Gazette Journal exploring the many ways COVID-19 has changed our lives since it first arrived in Nevada one year ago. You can find the full series here.
At the beginning of March 2020, a deadly new virus crept into Washoe County. On March 5, health officials confirmed the first known case of the novel coronavirus in a man who had just returned from a cruise to Mexico.
Eleven days later, the shutdowns began. First, Gov. Steve Sisolak closed schools. Then, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve announced all “non-essential” businesses — bars, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants — must shutter.
And on March 18, Sisolak issued a sweeping closure order that left casinos, malls, beauty salons and other businesses completely dark.
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In those early days, Reno Gazette Journal photographers Jason Bean and Andy Barron documented the scenes at the shuttered businesses, photographing empty casino floors and vacant parking lots at once-busy malls.
One year later, as businesses have begun to reopen with limited capacities, Barron and Bean returned to capture images of the slow return to life at Reno’s businesses.
Use these sliders to see the before and after shots of the pandemic closures.
Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino front desk
The front desk at the Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino went dark on March 18, but visitors have started to return. On Feb. 19, a small line has formed for people to check into the hotel.
Peppermill slot machines
A row of slot machines remained lit but silent last March. Today, plexiglass windows separate each machine as gamblers return to the casino floor.
In early March, the sportsbook at the Peppermill was devoid of people and the television screens remained dark. Today, masked bettors are returning.
Peppermill card tables
The lights are off and the floor is empty at the card tables last March. Today, plexiglass shields are in place to help protect dealers and patrons.
Card tables fill
Here’s another look at the new configuration of the card tables on the Peppermill gambling floor, with shields in place at the card tables.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport
In March 2020, the skies grew quiet as air traffic slowed to a trickle. Traffic at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport dropped 95 percent. Passenger traffic has started to pick up again, but in December was still about 60 percent below normal.
Passenger counts are still low at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Last year, under the governor’s order, malls closed their doors and drew their blinds. Today, department stores are welcoming back customers at limited capacity. Open air malls like the Summit Reno were allowed to reopen with restrictions in early May.
Reno Apple Store
In February, Apple’s showroom remained closed, but customers could visit the Genius Bar with an appointment.
Reno JC Penney
Cars are starting to fill the parking lot again outside JC Penney at Meadowood Mall in Reno. Indoor malls like Meadowood were allowed to reopen with restrictions in late May.
Shoppers have begun to return to the mall, which is now open with limited capacity.
Shoppers are returning to Scheels at the Outlets at Legends mall in Sparks. The outdoor mall was allowed to reopen in early May.
Old Navy Sparks
Cars once again fill the parking lot outside Old Navy at the Outlets at Legends mall in Sparks.