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

Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – April 21, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

April 21, 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

Sisolak Lays Out Initial Steps for Nevada’s Reopening – In a Tuesday evening press conference, Governor Sisolak provided an update on the status of COVID-19 in the state and laid out the beginning stages of his office’s plan to re-open Nevada’s economy. Sisolak was joined by various state and public health officials to discuss developments in Nevada’s COVID-19 trajectory, testing capabilities and hospital capacity. According to Nevada’s health experts, data shows a general decline in coronavirus-related hospitalization, ICU patients and ventilator use. State Epidemiologist Melissa Peek-Bullock said increasing testing capabilities will be the key to fully grasping Nevada’s situation.

Despite the trend in numbers, Governor Sisolak stressed the importance of maintaining best safety practices moving forward to ensure that Nevada’s path economic revitalization is sustainable. While there is no firm date for the reopening of business, the Governor laid out a framework for reaching minimal criteria set forth by the federal government and the subsequent ‘Phase 1’ policies. Nevada’s reopening criteria is:

  • Consistent and sustainable downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over a 14-day period
  • Healthcare and Public Health Systems should be able to adequately response
  • Maintaining an ability to protect vulnerable populations
  • Utilizing a phased approach with protective measures in place

Governor Sisolak’s state-specific ‘Phase 1’ plan closely aligns with the federal government’s guidance released last week that uses a three-entity approach: individuals, employers and specific employers.

Phase 1: Individuals

  • Vulnerable populations should remain home until outbreak has subsided
  • Extend Nevada Emergency Directive restricting large in-person gatherings of 10 or more people
  • Maintain Governor’s Travel Advisory
  • Extend Governor’s guidance on face coverings for public use and review strengthening current guidelines

Phase 1: Employers

  • Encourage telework
  • Return to work in phases
  • Close common areas
  • Minimize non-essential business travel
  • Special accommodations for vulnerable populations

Phase 1: Special Employers

  • In-person visitors to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited with strong encouragement for video conferencing
  • Bars remain closed
  • Other types of special employers/activities such as gyms and large venues such as restaurants, movies, sporting events and places of worship are still under review in Nevada

Additionally, as a part of the guidance issued for special employers, Governor Sisolak announced the extension of statewide school closures for the remainder of the academic school year. He emphasized the critical role proper social distancing has played in moving toward a plateau in coronavirus cases. The Governor assured that as Nevada approaches the federal government criteria for reopening and moves into Phase 1, his office will provide updated information on additional phases and steps as it becomes finalized.

McDonald Carano Forum with Reno + Sparks Chamber – McDonald Carano is proud to partner with the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce to host an “Employer HR Legal Insights Amidst COVID-19” forum. The co-chairs of the McDonald Carano Labor & Employment Practice Group, Laura Jacobsen and Kristen Gallagher, will be answering questions relating to what employers can do to help protect themselves in the months, and potentially years, ahead. If you are a member, please contact the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce for the call-in number. The forum will be held Thursday, April 23 at 2:00.

Washoe County Signs on to Lawsuit –The Washoe County Commission voted Tuesday to file a supportive amicus brief in a lawsuit challenging Governor Steve Sisolak’s emergency regulation that limits the use and prescription of antimalarial drugs, also known as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. The Nevada Osteopathic Medical Association filed suit taking issue with one of Governor Sisolak’s emergency order, which prohibits the two drugs from being prescribed outside of a hospital setting to prevent stockpiling. However, if a hospitalized patient is being treated for COVID-19, a doctor can still use discretion to prescribe the substances. Advocates of the lawsuit claim the drugs are beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19, and that general practitioners should also be given the option to prescribe the drugs. Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of signing onto the lawsuit, with the lone Democrat, Commissioner Kitty Jung, voting against the measure.

Life Is Beautiful Festival Canceled– Although scheduled in September, organizers of the three-day “Life is Beautiful” festival in Las Vegas have canceled the event for 2020. In a letter to fans, organizers stated, “It’s clear the health and economic hardships from the COVID-19 crisis will impact us all for some time to comes. In light of this, we made the determination to re-examine the role Life is Beautiful plays in the community and how we can put our resources, creativity and time into doing what we always set out to do: inspire and bring together a community.” Since debuting in 2013, the music, arts and culinary festival has become one of the city’s biggest events, drawing upwards of 175,000 fans.

New Nevada Unemployment NumbersAccording to a new study, Nevada ranks in the top-five states for unemployment claims, as nearly one-fifth of the state’s workforce has filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures of nonessential businesses. Over the past month, 303,705 Nevadans have filed initial unemployment claims. Nevada ranks amongst the following states:

  • Hawaii – 21.7-percent
  • Michigan – 21.01-percent
  • Rhode Island – 20.54-percent
  • Pennsylvania – 19.79-percent
  • Nevada – 19.47-percent

COVID-19 Federal Allocations to Nevada –The White House Tuesday released a detailed breakdown of the federal allocations and various equipment Nevada has received so far during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • $43.7-million in relief committed by FEMA
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has allocated $6.5-million
  • 48,400 N95 masks
  • 417,000 surgical and procedural masks
  • 350,700 surgical gowns
  • 106,700 surgical and exam gloves
  • 150 ventilators and other medical equipment from the public-pirate Project Air Bridge
  • $2.99-billion in Small Business Administration loans to more than 23,000 Nevada businesses

The number of testing kits received by Nevada, however, was not addressed.

Federal Government Developments

Replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program –The United States Senate passed a $480-billion relief package Tuesday that includes hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding for small businesses, along with other priorities like money for hospitals and expanded COVID-19 testing kits. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill Thursday, and the President has indicated he will sign it. Here is a breakdown of what the Senate version includes:

  • $310-billion to the Paycheck Protection Programs
  • $50-billion for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) loan program
  • $10-billion for the EIDL grant program
  • $2.1-billion for the administration of all Small Business Administration programs (SBA)
  • $100-billion for hospitals and testing

Immigration Roadblock –President Trump said Tuesday that he will halt immigration to the United States for 60-days, which will include blocking green card recipients from moving to the U.S. The order is expected, however, to exempt some categories of nonimmigrant visas, such as temporary workers. A draft of the executive order is said to be under review by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 21.

  • There are 3,937 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.
    • Nye County has 28 confirmed case. Of those, two (2) have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 27 confirmed case. Of those, 15 are hospitalized and five (5) have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 18 confirmed case. Of those, three (3) have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 15 confirmed cases. Of those five (5) have recovered.
    • Elko County has 12 confirmed cases. 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

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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