Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – March 31, 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
SNHD Funding New Health Site – At an emergency board meeting Tuesday morning, the Southern Nevada Health District unanimously approved spending for a temporary lodging facility for those affected or displaced by COVID-19. The facility, which is projected to cost $3 million, will receive roughly 75 percent of its funding from the FEMA and the rest will be left to the health district and local governments agencies. The temporary structure is designed for those transitioning out of a hospital or fulfilling a 14-day quarantine period. Initial plans for the facility include 40 separate pods, though further details such as bathroom accessibility and food service are unclear at this time.
Local Governments on Homelessness – As local governments continue to try to control the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate damage caused by it, it’s become clear that addressing the needs of the homeless population in times of crises presents its own unique set of difficulties.
- Clark: After a man staying in a Las Vegas homeless shelter tested positive for the coronavirus prompting the shelter’s closure, Southern Nevada authorities scrambled to find alternative solutions for safe lodging. Together, Clark County and the City of Las Vegas opened a temporary shelter at the Cashman Center on the top floor of the parking structure. However, since the site’s opening, the two entities have received backlash after a photo went viral depicting the painted boxes on the concrete where the homeless are expected to sleep. Today, Clark County and the city of Las Vegas announced construction of a complex designed for homeless individuals in need of a place to quarantine or isolate. Homeless individuals will be required to provide a referral from a local shelter in order to be admitted.
- Washoe: Washoe County joined Southern Nevada in its struggle to properly account for the homeless population after an individual who had accessed resources at the Reno Convention Center tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The temporary shelter at the Convention Center has not closed, though it is taking precautions to screen people coming in and do more thorough sanitation of shared supplies and resources
What Are Other West Coast States Doing?
- California: In the Golden State, a stay-at-home order was issued March 16th by Governor Newsom for its nearly nearly 40-million residents, and it is anticipated it will not be lifted for up to eight weeks. Newsome issued an executive action to establish a statewide moratorium on evictions through May 31st and offers a 90-day grace period for owners to make their mortgage payments. Daycares can remain open for children of essential service workers, and while schools have been ordered to close for no set amount of time, the Governor has hinted that they may not open for the rest of the year. The California National Guard has been deployed, but so far only to distribute food and help food banks serve the homeless population. Unlike Nevada, California’s legislature is in session, providing critical opportunity to access funds. Thus far, the California legislature has approved $1.1 billion in emergency funds to pay to lease and activate two hospitals, help access necessary equipment, and lend support to hospitals, nursing homes, the homeless, and other facilities.
- Washington: As one of the first U.S. states to see the harsh realities of the coronavirus, Washington state has moved quickly and diligently to mitigate spread. Governor Inslee has been praised for his quick action. Statewide, Inslee mandated the closure of schools on March 13, closure of restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities on March 15, and instituted a 30-day moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment on March 18. Accountability is prioritized with a quick online form for reporting businesses who do not comply, though punishment is unclear. In Washington, construction was not been deemed essential but can continue under specific conditions. A unique action taken by Governor Inslee allows certain license requirements for healthcare workers to be waived during the crisis, allowing workers to focus on providing critical care.
- Oregon: In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown ordered schools, restaurants and bars to close on March 16 and instituted a statewide moratorium on residential evictions on March 22. Brown’s office opted not to specify with detail the essential vs. non-essential distinction. Oregon witnessed strict social distancing guidelines and work-from-home advisories early on. Governor Brown’s order, “Stay Home, Save Lives,” prohibits Oregonians from professional, social or recreational gatherings where social distancing cannot be maintained. Violation of any aspect of the order is punishable by a Class C misdemeanor.
- Idaho: The State of Idaho has taken a visibly different approach to COVID-19 than Nevada. With the legislature in session, new avenues for funding were available to Governor Brad Little. Early appropriations allowed the state to access approximately $2 million in state funds for the coronavirus response. The state’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus came on March 13, over a week after Nevada saw its first case. Idaho has closed schools until April 20 and shutdown many non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars. However, the list is less inclusive than others, allowing laundromats and hotels/motels, and some other businesses to remain open. Additionally, there has been no order limiting landlords’ ability to evict, even for non-payment from those affected by COVID-19.
- Arizona: In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order for residents to stay home until April 30th, adhering to federal guidelines. Additionally, Ducey mandated that schools close until the end of the school year. While non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, restaurants can provide delivery and curb-side pick-up, as well as sell alcoholic beverages with the purchase of food. All elective surgeries have been halted and the National Guard has been called in to help stock grocery stores and food banks. Following the lead of surrounding states, a moratorium on residential evictions has been instituted and $5 million in new state funding has been allocated for renters struggling to make their rent payments.
- Utah: Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued an executive order for residents to stay home if possible and two counties have been ordered to shelter in place due to the growing number of cases. The executive order encourages residents to stay home and work remotely until midnight April 13th. Governor Herbert has instituted strict guidelines on social distancing, mandated restaurants offer only take-out options, and prohibited non-essential personnel from working outside of their home. Schools have been ordered to close until May 1. Similar to Idaho, there has been no regulation on evictions or late rent fees for Utah residents.
Federal Government Developments
Phase Four Coming Soon? – As the dust begins to settle on the historic $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump late last week, talks of a fourth coronavirus relief package is circulating throughout the House of Representatives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi argues that the Phase Three legislation did not do enough to protect vulnerable Americans. Early plans for Phase Four include stronger protections for American workers, increased funding for food stability and more support for state and local governments as the country continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Navy Hospital Ships Dock Offshore – The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort arrived in New York City Monday to provide critical aid to the city’s inundated hospitals. The ship will treat patients for conditions unrelated to COVID-19 in order to relieve much of the pressure on land. Its sister ship, the USNS Mercy, arrived in Los Angeles early last week to perform the same task and has successfully relieved much of the burden on Southern California hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada
These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 31.
- There are 1,113 positive cases in Nevada.
- Clark County has 869 confirmed cases. Of those, 145 are hospitalized.
- Washoe County has 121 confirmed cases. Of those, 10 have recovered.
- Carson City has five (5) confirmed cases.
- Douglas County has six (6) confirmed cases.
- Elko County has five (5) confirmed cases. Two (2) are reported to have recovered.
- Lyon County has one (1) confirmed case.
- Humboldt County has one (1) confirmed case.
- White Pine County has one (1) confirmed case.
- Nye County has two (2) confirmed case. One (1) is reported to have recovered
- Nevada has reported 26 fatalities from the coronavirus, 23 of which occurred in Clark County and three (3) occurred in Washoe County.
- Over 11,700 people have been tested.
Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada
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