Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – April 20, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

April 20, 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:

State and Local News

Washoe’s Peak – Washoe County health officials believe it is likely the peak of coronavirus cases in the county was reached, but that it will take more staff members and testing to handle the additional spread of the virus that is likely once the economy begins to reopen. During Monday’s virtual press conference, Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick said the Los Alamos National Laboratory now estimates there is an 82-percent chance that Washoe County reached its peak, as about 20-percent of ventilators in the county are in use for COVID-19 patients. As the state begins to reopen, Dick stressed that the amount of available testing kits need to increase, as well as the hiring of more “contact investigators.” Predictions from John Hopkins University estimate that about 100,000 new investigators will be needed around the country, with about 140 in Washoe County. Currently the health district has fewer than 160 full-time employees.

Wynn CEO Lays Out Steps for Reopening– In an updated health and sanitation plan published Sunday, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox took the first step in laying out new guidelines for health safety on property, as Maddox tentatively targets the reopening of the Las Vegas Strip for mid-to-late May. Maddox published the proposal in an op-ed penned for the Nevada Independent. While no non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen until Governor Sisolak lifts the stay-at-home order, Maddox shared Wynn Resorts’ plan to “slowly begin” the reopening process while ensuring guests and employees remain safe. The plan includes:

  • Adding thermal cameras to entrances, and testing those with a temperature over 100-degrees in a private area, and turning away those who show high temperatures;
  • Advising guests to stand at least six-feet apart;
  • Restaurant tables and slot machines will be spread out to ensure people maintain a safe distance;
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at key entrances and contact areas;
  • Health and hygiene reminders will be displayed throughout the property;
  • Every employee will be given a mask and be required to wear it while on property; and
  • Visitors will be screened and asked to use hand sanitizer and to wear a mask, provided by Wynn Resorts.

Nationwide Shutdown Protest – A group of Nevada residents gathered in Carson City and Las Vegas on Saturday to protest Governor Sisolak’s stay-at-home order, part of a movement called “Operation Nevada,” aimed at reopening Nevada’s economy. Armed with flags, banners, and signs, protestors called upon Governor Sisolak to reopen nonessential businesses and invigorate the economy. Nevada was not the only state to hold protests, joining states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Maine. New polling, however, shows that 60-percent of Americans oppose the protestors, while 22-percent support them and 18-percent were unsure.

President Trump “OK” with Sisolak’s Stay-at-Home Order – President Donald J. Trump was asked during a Coronavirus Task Force briefing over the weekend whether he agreed with Governor Sisolak’s total shutdown of non-essential businesses in Nevada through the end of April. President Trump remarked that “they shut one of my hotels down, too,” – “a very big hotel.” Trump called the order a “very severe step” but added “I’m OK with it.”

New Safety Guidelines – The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NVOSHA) released a revised memo Monday morning providing updated COVID-19 guidelines for the construction industry. NVOSHA instructs employers within the construction sector to enforce social distancing rules during breaks, lunches/dinners and other slack periods, conduct daily surveys of changes to staff health conditions and provide sanitation and cleaning supplies for multiple-use equipment. The memo additionally provides employers with a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) that addresses what to do when employees are conducting job functions where six feet of social distance is impractical or infeasible. NVOSHA’s initial COVID-19 memo, released on March 26, established several preliminary requirements for employers and employees for construction to continue in the state. Since then, at least 84 citations have been issued to businesses for failure to adhere to the rules set forth. Along with the new guidance, NVOSHA will be conducting random onsite inspections to ensure that the guidance is being properly enforced and adhered to on construction sites statewide. The full memo can be found here: NVOSHA Memo

Republican Plan to Reopen the State – The Nevada Assembly Republican Caucus has published a four-step plan to reopen the state, called the “Framework to Reopen Nevada,” and includes the following recommendations:

  1. Join the California, Oregon and Washington Western States Pact;
  2. Establish a regional plan to modify and/or ease Nevada’s stay-at-home orders, including following guidelines from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and continue to adhere to good hygiene, social distancing, and working from home if possible;
  3. Immediately establish a bi-partisan taskforce to advise on a strategy to reopen Nevada, to include healthcare officials, business stakeholders and a bi-partisan group of lawmakers; and
  4. Immediately establish a curbside pickup model that will allow non-essential retail business to open.

Atkinson Released from Federal Prison – Kelvin Atkinson, the former Senate Majority Leader convicted last year for campaign finance violations and sentenced to 27-months in federal prison, was granted an early compassionate release late Friday after claiming concerns of possible susceptibility to COVID-19. Nevada District Court Judge James Mahan commuted his prison term and ordered Atkinson to serve the remainder of his original sentence under house arrest without electronic monitoring. Atkinson was sentenced for misappropriating more than $450,000 in campaign funds for personal use between 2010 and 2017 forcing Atkinson to resign from the legislature and surrender his position as Senate Majority Leader last March. While the details of his health condition were not available, the order referenced his attorney’s statement that Atkinson has a “unique susceptibility to the COVID-19 infections,” and cited to a physician’s note that confirmed the virus “could result” in his death. Atkinson reported to prison on October 18, 2019.

The Return of Sports? – As sporting leagues across the country enter another week of canceled events, some leagues are coming up with ambitious ways to bring entertainment back. The PGA Tour laid out an ambitious plan last week to resume its season, hoping to restart in early June. The revised schedule pushes back tour dates, including the Barracuda Championship which will now take place in Truckee, CA from July 27-August 2. Additionally, the NBA and MLB are looking at creative ways to restart their seasons, including playing in front of fan-less arenas. Las Vegas has been floated as the possible home for crowd-less events, after the NBA hosted the annual “G League Winter Showcase” without fans at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in December. The games were closed to the public, with only league personnel, agents, media and select family and friends welcome.

Federal Government Developments

Fourth Stimulus Bill? – Over the weekend, the White House and congressional Democrats came closer to an agreement for an additional estimated $470-billion relief package to replenish a depleted emergency fund for small businesses and expand coronavirus testing around the country. In a TV appearance Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described the broad outlines of the package, which will allocate money for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund, funding for hospitals and testing, and the largest allocation towards the exhausted Paycheck Protection Program. While progress was made, as of Monday there was no vote scheduled. The Senate is anticipated to move the package by unanimous consent Tuesday, with the bill moving to the House possibly Wednesday or Thursday, assuming all parties can reach agreement.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 20.

  • There are 3,830 positive cases in Nevada.
  • Clark County has 2,940 confirmed cases. Of those, 1,606 have recovered.
  • Washoe County has 662 confirmed cases. Of those, 43 are hospitalized and 166 have recovered.
  • Carson City has 28 confirmed cases. Of those, seven (7) have recovered.
  • Humboldt County has 27 confirmed case. Of those, 15 are hospitalized and five (5) have recovered.
  • Elko County has 12 confirmed cases. Of those, three (3) have recovered.
  • Nye County has 28 confirmed case. Of those, two (2) have recovered.
  • Douglas County has 15 confirmed cases. Of those five (5) have recovered.
  • Lyon County has 18 confirmed case. Of those, three (3) have recovered.
  • White Pine County has three (3) confirmed cases.
  • Churchill County has three (3) confirmed case.
  • Lander County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Mineral County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Nevada has reported 158 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 137 were in Clark County, 18 were in Washoe County, two (2) were in Humboldt County and one (1) was in Elko County.
  • Over 32,500 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada

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