Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – April 30, 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.

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State and Local News

Sisolak Announces ‘Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery’

Governor Steve Sisolak held a press conference Thursday night to provide details on the “Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery” state-specific reopening plan that was announced by his office on Tuesday. The Governor provided context surrounding the plan, noting that it appears Nevada may have reached its COVID-19 peak on April 24 and rate of infection has been steadily declining since. Additionally, Sisolak said the state is now able to test all symptomatic individuals under current state testing guidelines and is working diligently to expand testing to asymptomatic people as well. Looking ahead, the Governor said the next 15 days will be the beginning of the state’s active transition to a safe and methodical reopening of the economy. The four-phase framework of Nevada United outlines projected goals and timelines the Governor has targeted as Nevada begins to move into recovery. Sisolak hopes Phase 1 of the recovery can begin on or before May 15. Here is the quick breakdown of the four phases of Nevada United:

Phase 1: Battle Born Beginning

  • Transition from “Stay at Home” to “Safer at Home”
  • Outdoor spaces, small businesses and select retail under strict requirements may begin to open
  • Explicitly not included in Phase 1: gaming, malls, sporting events and nightclubs, among others.

Phase 2: Silver State Stabilization

  • Broader opening of commerce, retail and services
  • Reopening of public life under strict social distancing measures
  • “Safer at Home” recommendations remain in place

Phase 3: On the Road to Home Means Nevada

  • Ease measures on public and mass gatherings and non-essential travel with modified operations
  • Vulnerable populations should remain home

Phase 4: Home Means Nevada: Our New Normal

  • Return to normalcy in daily lives, including education, work, social and public life
  • Most, if not all, businesses operating with enhanced vigilance

Full descriptions on the four phases can be found here: Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery

The Governor advocated for a federally supported, state managed, and locally executed approach to the implementation of the Nevada United plan, saying that his office will partner with county elected officials to facilitate structured and manageable action. However, Sisolak clarified that no single county can move forward into Phase 1 until all seventeen counties meet the criteria that is established by the newly formed Local Empowerment Advisory Panel (LEAP), led by Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick (urban) and Eureka County Commission Chair J.J. Goicoechea (rural). Governor Sisolak reaffirmed that the health and safety of all Nevadans remains priority as he attempts to balance the health care crisis with the economic well-being of the state. Further announcements and clarification from his office is expected to follow.

Directive 016 – Wednesday evening, Governor Sisolak signed directive 016 extending the majority of the stay-at-home measures until May 15. However, some restrictions will be eased beginning May 1.

  • All retail businesses will be allowed to operate under curbside commerce models, similar to curbside pickup currently allowed for restaurants and eateries, including retail cannabis dispensaries.
  • Drive-in services are now permitted for places of worship, as long as congregants stay in their vehicles and maintain at least six feet of social distancing from people not in their household.
  • Restrictions on golf, pickleball and tennis have been relaxed as long as it is done safely and in a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, the following directives will be extended through May 15:

  • 003 – Essential vs. Non-Essential businesses

Except for curbside delivery for nonessential retail and retail cannabis dispensaries

  • 004- DMV auto extension.

With an amendment that says any drivers’ license or card issued by the DMV that expires during the closed time period, the expiration date is extended for 90-days after the DMV reopens.

  • 006 – Open meeting law
  • 007 – Social gatherings
  • 010 – Stay-at-home order #1
  • 011 – Stay-at-home order #2

Except for the new guidance’s on places of worship and outdoor activities.

All other directives remain in effect until the state of emergency is lifted, unless they become obsolete by subsequent directives. Under the extended order, businesses that were previously closed such as salons, barber shops, bars and casinos are directed to remain closed.

Budget Deficits and Cuts Across the State – At the beginning of April, Governor Sisolak asked state agencies to review budgets and make recommendations for a proposed 4-percent cut to offset the decrease in revenues the state has seen as a result of COVID-19. Nevada’s uniquely positioned economy is largely dependent on tourism – an industry hit particularly hard by the pandemic. However, the state’s predominant source of revenue is sourced from sales tax, which draws the majority of its revenue from food and drink sales – another heavily impacted industry. A 4-percent cut across all state agencies would save approximately $170-million this fiscal year, though not enough for what analysts anticipate the statewide budget deficit will be. A $700-million to $900-million decrease in revenue is predicted for this fiscal year, ending June 30, and a shortfall of $1-billion to $2-billion is predicted for next fiscal year. With a general fund budget of $4.5 billion for fiscal year 2021, a shortfall of that magnitude would be the largest budget deficit in state history.

At the local level, unprecedented budget deficits are seen as well. During a call Wednesday with the group Restoration Nevada, Clark County Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick announced the County is considering making some one-time grants to small businesses in order to help keep doors open, on top of the money they may qualify for with the SBA loan. The County estimates that they will be facing a $1.9-billion deficit, or 52-percent, and potentially four years of recovery.

Interim Finance Committee – The Interim Finance Committee (IFC) met Thursday to discuss and act on agenda items that provide insight on where state agencies are looking for their budget cuts. Notably, the Department of Corrections withdrew and revised several requests for funding for various projects to account for projected shortfalls and the Department of Education withdrew two requests totaling approximately $5-million for costs related to personnel, travel and miscellaneous expenses. Additionally, updates were given to the committee from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) and the Nevada Secretary of State’s office regarding the use of federal funds. Nevada has received half of its allocated $10-million for unemployment insurance administration and will receive the other half upon submitting a plan to the Department of Labor on employer targeting. Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Wayne Thorley also went over the state’s plan to utilize $5-million in federal grant dollars to fund the state’s June primary election. Currently, Nevada is required to pay a match to use federal dollars, however Congress may eliminate this requirement in the next coronavirus relief package.

Rural County Intends to Reopen – The Eureka County Commission voted Wednesday on a plan to send county employees back to work beginning May 4, contradictory to the Governor’s order to keep the state closed. The rural county, located in the northeastern part of the state with a population of just over 2,000 people, has no reported COVID-19 cases to date. In order to keep employees safe, provisions have been put into place, such as hand sanitizer in each office, masks and gloves distributed to employees upon request, services will be by appointment only and employees may not congregate within six feet of each other. While no action was taken on private businesses, they are asked to submit health and safety protocols related to their reopening to the Commission by May 6.

Assistance for Those in Need – Delivery with Dignity, a program that serves meals to low-income, high-risk households, is expanding into Reno and Sparks beginning May 4. The program has already been in operating in southern Nevada, serving more than 21,000 meals over the last five weeks. The southern operation is funded by the Moonridge Foundation, the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation, United Way of Southern Nevada and 22 other local nonprofits. In the north, Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall will head the program working with United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra. Qualifying households receive three days’ worth or meals prepared through four partnering restaurants. Those restaurants receive $6 for every individual meal and $22 for every family meal.


Federal Government Developments

Federal Guidelines Will Not be Renewed – Federal guidelines encouraging people to curtail nearly all public activities, currently scheduled to expire Thursday night, will not be extended according to President Donald Trump. To reporters Wednesday, the President said, “they’ll be fading out, because now the Governors are doing it.” Governors in several states including Alabama, Maine, Tennessee and Texas plan to allow stay-at-home orders to expire Thursday, while states including Iowa, North Dakota and Wyoming are easing their rules. The reopening of states marks the end of an unparalleled month in which nine out of 10 residents in the United States were told to stay at home and help stop the spread of the virus. With more than a dozen states beginning to partially reopen their economic and restart public life, concerns among health experts are raised.


COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, April 30.

  • There are 5,050 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 3,979 confirmed cases. Of those, 2,617 have recovered.
    • Washoe County has 873 confirmed cases. Of those, 43 are hospitalized and 332 have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 40 confirmed cases. Of those, four (4) are hospitalized and five (5) have recovered.
    • Nye County has 36 confirmed cases. Of those, 18 have recovered.
    • Carson City has 44 confirmed cases. Of those, 21 have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 27 confirmed cases. Of those, eight (8) have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 19 confirmed cases. Of those, 12 have recovered.
    • Elko County has 15 confirmed cases. Of those, 10 have recovered.
    • White Pine County has three (3) confirmed cases.
    • Churchill County has three (3) confirmed cases.
    • Mineral County has four (4) confirmed cases.
    • Lander County has seven (7) confirmed cases.
  • Nevada has reported 237 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 202 were in Clark County, 30 were in Washoe County, two (2) were in Humboldt County, one (1) was in Elko County and one (1) was in Carson City.
  • Over 42,000 people have been tested.

Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada

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