Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – May 11, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

May 11, 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

Fiscal State of Emergency – Governor Steve Sisolak declared a state “fiscal emergency” Monday, the first step in allowing officials to tap into a $400-million budget reserve, known as the Rainy Day Fund. Lawmakers set the stage for the fiscal emergency after scheduling an item on the Interim Finance Committee’s agenda to be considered Wednesday. Governor Steve Sisolak said in a statement, “With the closure of Nevada businesses, including the gaming industry, that was necessary to protect the health of Nevadans, the drop in revenue is not unexpected and it is significant. While we appreciate the additional assistance from the federal government to help address the immediate funding needs for the public crisis, the state is now in a position where (we) will be forced to make very difficult decisions.” State fiscal analysts estimate revenue shortfall to be between $741-million and $911-million for the fiscal year ending on June 30. That amount is estimated to be almost a fifth of the state’s 2020 budget, set for $4.5-billion.

Western States Pact Letter to Congress – Governor Sisolak joined other members of the Western States Pact in sending a letter Monday requesting Congress provide $1-trillion in relief to state and local governments. The letter, addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) acknowledges the financial assistance previously provided to workers and small businesses, but makes the argument that those individuals will take further cuts if additional relief efforts are not made. The letter suggests the additional aid would preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work. Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly Jason Frierson co-signed the letter.

Directive 019 – Governor Sisolak Monday signed an emergency directive that will allow the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) to hire additional staff to help process Nevada’s backlog of unemployment insurance claims. The directive will allow DETR to hire temporary staff on a contract basis and waives the merit-based qualification in an effort to fill positions quickly. The emergency flexibility will be applicable through December 31, 2020. Directive 019

New OSHA Guidelines – The Nevada Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) released new guidelines Friday in accordance with Governor Sisolak’s Phase 1 directive. Recommendations and requirements for essential and non-essential businesses opened during Phase 1 are as follows:

  • All employees must provide face coverings for employees assigned to serving the public and shall require these employees to wear the face coverings (Required)
  • Prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people (Required)
  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not available provide alcohol-based hand rub (Required)
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment (Required)
  • Provide sanitation and cleaning supplies for addressing common surfaces (Recommended based on the specifics of a business’s services and procedures)
  • Conduct daily surveys of changes to staff/labor health conditions (Required)
  • Ensure that any identified first responders in the labor force are provided and use the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Required)
  • Provide access to potable and sanitary water (Required)

The guidance further lays out recommendations for social distancing while on the job as well as during breaks. Click here for the full guidance.

Las Vegas Properties Plan to Reopen – The Las Vegas Sands is planning to reopen its southern Nevada properties, The Venetian and Palazzo, sometime in June and will continue to pay staff members and offer benefits until that time. While a firm reopening date has not been set, preparations are underway, including a plan to test all workers for COVID-19 before employees return to work. The company began Monday offering COVID-19 testing to all staff and immediate household members 13 and older with the full cost of testing to be paid by the Sands. The casino operator is offering two types of tests: one to determine whether a staff member currently has COVID-19 and another that looks for COVID-19 antibodies to tell if an individual has already had the virus. All Sands staff members will be required to take the first test, while the second is voluntary.

Reno’s Artown to Stream Event – Moving with the times, Artown, Reno’s midsummer arts and music festival, has canceled all live performances and will transition to showcase art through social media platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the nonprofit plans to adapt its many exhibits to keep the community safe. Dubbed this year as “Heartown”, the new campaign is asking artists to share anything from drawings and paintings to sidewalk chalk and garden designs. Executive director Beth Macmillan said in a statement, “Any expression of art that comes from your heart is welcome. Because now, more than ever, the power of art can inspire and uplift us all.” The event, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, runs from July 1-31.

Federal Government Developments

White House to Require Masks – A new White House memo directs officials to wear masks in the West Wing except when sitting at their desks, after two staffers tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The memo, which cites guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), does not mention whether the President or Vice President will have to abide by the guidance. In addition, the memo asks that officials restrict unnecessary in-person visits to the White House. Additionally, every staff member or guest “in close proximity” to the President or Vice President will be tested daily, with health measures such as daily temperature checks, regular deep cleaning of workstations, monitoring symptoms and making hand sanitizer readily available have been implemented.

Tesla Leaving California? – After threatening to move Tesla headquarters to Nevada or Texas over the weekend, Elon Musk’s electric car factory was open and operating on Monday, in defiance of Alameda County, CA health orders. Musk previously argued that restrictions closing non-essential businesses put into place by the county where Tesla’s Fremont factory is based are aggressive and unconstitutional. Additionally, the company filed a federal lawsuit against the county over the weekend. On Monday, Musk tweeted, “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.”

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Monday, May 11.

  • There are 6,152 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 4,762 confirmed cases. Of those, 3,998 have recovered.
    • Washoe County has 1,100 confirmed cases. Of those, 43 are hospitalized and 529 have recovered.
    • Carson City has 55 confirmed cases. Of those, 42 have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 67 confirmed cases. Of those, one (1) is hospitalized and 12 have recovered.
    • Nye County has 44 confirmed cases. Of those, 18 have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 42 confirmed cases. Of those, 21 have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 24 confirmed cases. Of those, 19 have recovered.
    • Elko County has 15 confirmed cases. Of those, 10 have recovered.
    • Lander County has 17 confirmed cases. Of those, one (1) has recovered.
    • Mineral County has four (4) confirmed cases. All four (4) have recovered.
    • White Pine County has three (3) confirmed cases. All three (3) have recovered.
    • Churchill County has three (3) confirmed cases.
    • Lincoln County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Nevada has reported 306 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 260 were in Clark County, 39 were in Washoe County, three (3) were in Humboldt County, two (2) were in Carson City and one (1) was in Elko County.
  • Over 59,000 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada.

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