Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – May 14, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

May 14, 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

State Budget Relief – The Nevada Board of Examiners, made up of Governor Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford, and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, moved Thursday to transfer money from the Account to Stabilize the Operation of State Government, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund, in its entirety to the General Fund due to the massive budget deficit brought upon by the COVID-19 crisis. The Interim Finance Committee will meet Monday to approve or modify the recommendation. According to a Pew Charitable Trust study released shortly before the pandemic, Nevada’s Rainy Day Fund is sufficient to cover 27.3 days. By comparison, neighboring states can cover 52.8 days (California), 25 days (Arizona), 33.6 days (Utah), 36.9 days (Idaho), and 26.6 days (Washington).

Cities and Counties Reopening & Phase 2? – The City of Henderson will be the first major municipality to open its doors for business to the public at 7:30 a.m. this Monday, May 18. The City of Las Vegas and Clark County are conducting business by appointment-only and are targeting June 1 for a full reopening to the public. North Las Vegas is also aiming for a June 1 reopening of City Hall – but the cities of Reno and Sparks have not yet announced reopening dates. However, the City of Sparks and Washoe County are available by appointment only. All reopening plans are subject to change, based on COVID-19 incident numbers. Initially, the majority of southern Nevada cities had hoped to move to Phase 2 by Monday, May 18th. Each governmental entity is closely monitoring case numbers.

Mortgage Relief – The Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation (NAHAC) has relaunched the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program to help struggling Nevada homeowners pay mortgages through the Nevada Hardest Hit Fund. The program is available to homeowners who have experienced a job loss due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The goal is to stabilize neighborhoods by helping prevent foreclosures and keep homeowners in their homes. Eligible applicants for the program can receive up to $3,000 per month in mortgage assistance to cover principal, interest, taxes, insurance and, as applicable, Homeowner’s Association dues for up to three months, with the maximum total assistance $9,000.

Pressure to Lift Worship Ban – Nearly 190 pastors from across Nevada have signed onto a letter urging Governor Steve Sisolak to lift the ban on religious congregations. Governor Sisolak banned in-person attendance at religious services just days before Easter, and the letter argues that there is no evidence that worship services have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada. Evidence of spreading through places of worship was found in Washington State, however, after a choir practice in an unventilated room led to numerous cases and two deaths. While the current ban does not prevent worship to take place through drive-in services, authors of the letter ask that they be allowed to reopen while implementing their own health and safety guidelines.

Outdoor Sales in Las Vegas – The City of Las Vegas began allowing restaurants and retailers to conduct business on sidewalks Thursday, but only in specific portions of the city’s downtown. Outdoor dining and sidewalk sales are permissible in the areas that encompass businesses between Sahara Avenue and U.S. 95, between I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, and the Fremont Street corridor, stopping at Eastern Avenue. Businesses must maintain a minimum of six feet from pedestrian paths and can only operate during regular hours. Outdoor commerce will cease, however, if the activities violate state orders and regulations, and if the health and safety of the general public is at risk.

Nevada Unemployment Numbers – For the week ending May 9, Nevada reported an additional 24,045 initial unemployment claims, bringing the total to 443,154. That number is equivalent to 28-percent of the total workforce in the state. Year-to-date, 466,991 claims have been reported. Only 23,837 initial unemployment claims were filed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Government Developments

Federal Reserve Chair Calls Upon Congress to Act – On Wednesday, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell warned of unprecedented damage to the United States economy if Congress and the White House do not move forward with additional financial support to businesses and individuals in the coming weeks. Despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi introducing a fourth stimulus package earlier this week, negotiations have stalled as President Trump’s economic advisers wait to see if the initial $2.2-trillion in the CARES Act offers any relief. Powell sits on the Federal Open Market Committee, which has taken severe measures over the past few months to shelter the U.S. economy during the coronavirus pandemic, including cutting the Federal Reserve interest rates to nearly zero. His warning came in response to a question asking whether interest rates will dip into the negatives as President Trump has advocated for, adding that direct fiscal support from Congress and the White House is what is necessary to avoid long-term economic damage and allow the country to ease into recovery.

Weekly Unemployment Numbers – The United States recorded 2.981-million new unemployment claims this week, bringing the rolling total during the coronavirus pandemic to 36.5-million. However, the number reflects the sixth straight week of a steady decline since its peak in mid-April at just over 6-million new weekly unemployment filings. The largest drops in new cases were in Texas and California at just over 100-thousand. This week marks the first time most states are beginning to ease stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses, leading economists to project a swing in hiring over the next few weeks and a leveling off of the sharp unemployment spike.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Thursday, May 14.

  • There are 6,604 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 5,045 confirmed cases. Of those, 4,221 have recovered.
    • Washoe County has 1,154 confirmed cases. Of those, 51 are hospitalized and 575 have recovered.
    • Carson City has 58 confirmed cases. Of those, 43 have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 71 confirmed cases. Of those, one (1) is hospitalized and 13 have recovered.
    • Nye County has 49 confirmed cases. Of those, 19 have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 46 confirmed cases. Of those, 23 have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 24 confirmed cases. Of those, 20 have recovered.
    • Elko County has 18 confirmed cases. Of those, 12 have recovered.
    • Lander County has 19 confirmed cases.
    • 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 five (5) confirmed cases.
    • Lincoln County has two (2) confirmed cases.
  • Nevada has reported 334 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 275 were in Clark County, 45 were in Washoe County, three (3) were in Humboldt County, two (2) were in Carson City and one (1) was in Elko County.
  • Over 67,000 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada.

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