Understanding and responding to the business and legal impacts of COVID-19

Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – April 16, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

April 16, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed of pertinent information as we continue facing the novel coronavirus. We will be providing daily updates on the matter over the course of the next few weeks.
Please continue to refer to our Firm website for resources and information:
https://www.mcdonaldcarano.com/coronavirus

State and Local News

Governor Sisolak Press Conference – During a press conference Thursday night, Governor Sisolak announced that state specific plans to reopen Nevada will tentatively be forthcoming in the following week.

Nevada Democrats File Lawsuit Against Cegavske – In coordination with three national democratic organizations, the Nevada State Democratic Party filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske following her office’s decision to move to a mail-in primary election in June. The lawsuit requests several changes to the Secretary of State’s initial plan, including adding additional in-person voting locations in each county, requiring ballots be issued to inactive voters in addition to active voters, allowing non-family members to collect and return ballots, and suspending a law that rejects ballots on the basis of not having matching signatures. This lawsuit comes nearly a week after Nevada Democratic Party officials threatened legal action if the same requested changes were not fulfilled. In response to the initial request, Secretary Cegavske issued a statement on Tuesday defending her office’s position. In addition to Nevada, logistics of postponed or mail-in primary elections are being considered by nearly two dozen states nationwide.

Nevada Receives Smallest Amount of Emergency Loan Funds for Population – According to data from the Small Business Administration (SBA), Nevada received the fewest number of loans and least amount of money from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program compared to other states with similar population. With approximately 3.1 million residents, Nevada is categorized with six other states with populations between 2.9 and 3.5 million. The amount of aid to Nevada’s small businesses thus far totals $1.25-billion across 4,209 loans. After the program initially prohibited any business that derived at least one third of its annual revenue from gaming to apply for the loan program, the SBA announced additional guidance to allow “small casinos” to qualify. The full report on nationwide allocation of PPP funds can be found here: SBA PPP Report

Senate Minority Leader Asks for Clarity from Sisolak – Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer submitted a letter to the Governor’s Office outlining questions regarding the state’s plan to move forward. Senator Settelmeyer asked Governor Sisolak to begin notifying the public and the Legislature of his plans for economic recovery and provide ‘clarity and specifics’ on the possibility for an extension of the stay-at-home order and mandated closure of schools and businesses. Settelmeyer additionally asked if there is a priority, by industry, of non-essential businesses that may be able to re-open sooner than others. The Governor’s Office has not issued a response to the letter.

Federal Government Developments

President Trump Issues Three Phase Plan to Reopen Country – During Thursday night’s White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference, President Donald Trump announced that Governor’s will be given the discretion to open their individual states, issuing guidelines to help them take a phased and deliberate approach. While he acknowledged that some states would open sooner than others, he empowered Governors to tailor an approach appropriate for their respective states.

To begin implementing the guidelines, state’s must first meet a “gating” criteria, that includes a “downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period” or a “downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period”. If that criteria is met, states can enter into Phase One:

Phase One:
Individuals
• Vulnerable individuals should shelter in place
• When in public, maximize physical distance
• Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people
• Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines
Employers
• Consider special accommodations for vulnerable populations
• Encourage telework whenever possible
• Return to work in phases
• Minimize non-essential travel
Specific Employers
• Schools currently closed should remain closed
• Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited
• Large venues (including sit-down dining) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols
• Gyms can open if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols
• Elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient basis
If after a 14-day period there has not been a rebound of cases, a state can enter Phase Two:

Phase Two:
Individuals
• Vulnerable individuals continue to shelter in place
• When in public, maximize physical distancing
• Avoid social settings of more than 50 people
• Non-essential travel can resume
Employers
• Continue to encourage telework
• Close common areas
• Non-essential travel can resume
• Consider special accommodations for vulnerable populations
Specific Employers
• Schools, daycare, and camps can reopen
• Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited
• Large venues can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols
• Elective surgeries can resume on an outpatient and in-patient basis
If after a 14-day period there has not been a rebound of cases, a state can enter Phase Three, or the returning to normal Phase:

Phase Three:
Individuals
• Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing
• Low-risk populations should minimize time spent in crowded environments
Employers
• Resume unrestricted staffing of work sites
If a state has already met the “gating” criteria in cases over the last 14-days, that state can enter into Phase One as early as tomorrow. You can find the full guidelines here.

Paycheck Protection Program Drained – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Thursday that the Paycheck Protection Program would not be accepting any more applications for the $350-billion program, a key piece of the federal government’s effort to help small businesses pay their employees and stay running. While 1.7 million loans were approved in the less than two weeks of the program, thousands of additional small businesses whose loans have not been processed yet must now wait for Congress to approve the Trump administration’s request for another $250-billion. While politicians on both sides of the aisle want to add more money to the program, Republicans largely want to add the $250-billion with no asterisks, while Democrats want to put some restrictions on the money to specify that more of it goes toward under-banked businesses, hospitals and state and local governments.

Unemployment Numbers – In the latest numbers released by the Department of Labor Thursday, more than 22 million workers have sought unemployment benefits, a record-shattering total. Last week, 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment, adding to the three prior weeks in which millions of people filed jobless claims. Since mid-March, about 13-percent of the labor force has sought jobless assistance, outpacing any prior four-week stretch on record. However, experts believe that the peak for filing claims has passed, as the latest figures show fewer people filed last week than the prior two weeks.

New White House Task Force – President Donald Trump is tapping members of Congress for a new White House Task Force on re-opening the economy. The invited bipartisan crew of lawmakers will participate in the task force to address the central question of when the country should return to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives from the House include seven Republicans and nine Democrats, and Senate representatives include 20 Republicans and 13 Democrats, including Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen (D). The task force invitation comes as some Republicans push to open the economy sooner than later, while Democrats continue to urge a more gradual approach.

Midwest Governors Coalition – Mimicking the Northeast and Western Governor coalitions who have banded together to determine when to reopen their economies, the Governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky announced Thursday a Midwest coalition. In a joint statement, they announced the four factors that will help them determine when it is best to reopen:

  • “Sustained control” of infection and hospitalization rates
  • “Enhanced ability” to test and trace
  • “Sufficient health care capacity” for resurgence
  • Social distancing practice prepared for workplaces

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, April 16.

  • There are 3,321 positive cases in Nevada.
  • Clark County has 2,625 confirmed cases. Of those, 705 are hospitalized and 1,399 have recovered.
  • Washoe County has 572 confirmed cases. Of those, 38 are hospitalized and 115 have recovered.
  • Carson City has 25 confirmed cases. Of those, six (6) have recovered.
  • Douglas County has 13 confirmed cases. Of those four (4) have recovered.
  • Elko County has 11 confirmed cases. Of those, three (3) have recovered.
  • Lyon County has 11 confirmed case. Of those, one (1) has recovered.
  • Humboldt County has 22 confirmed case. Of those, four (4) are hospitalized.
  • White Pine County has three (3) confirmed cases.
  • Nye County has 19 confirmed case. Of those, two (2) have recovered.
  • Churchill County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Lander County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Nevada has reported 137 fatalities from the coronavirus.
  • Over 28,500 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada

About McDonald Carano

McDonald Carano has helped to shape the Nevada business and legal landscape for 70 years. With more than 60 lawyers and government affairs professionals in our offices in Las Vegas and Reno, we are Nevada's law firm for business. We proudly represent Fortune 500 companies, financial and governmental institutions, fast-growth and mid-market companies, entrepreneurs, start-up ventures, non-profit organizations and individuals. Our attorneys deliver cross-discipline, one-stop, commercial law and government affairs counsel. Our dedication to clients, innovative thinking and practical solutions based in sound business and legal judgments are at the heart of our practice. For more information, visit mcdonaldcarano.com, call 775.788.2000 (Reno office), or 702.873.4100 (Las Vegas office) or reach us by email at info@mcdonaldcarano.com.

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