Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – May 5, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

May 5, 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

Mail-In Lawsuit Dropped – The lawsuit challenging Nevada’s mail-in Primary Election in June has been dropped, after Clark County officials agreed to add two additional in-person voting sites and send out ballots to “inactive” voters, among a myriad of additional stipulations. A number of Democratic organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and progressive political nonprofit Priorities USA, filed the lawsuit in mid-April after Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske called for the state’s Primary Election to be conducted by mail to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Plaintiffs were concerned with only one site being available for in-person voting per county, pointing to “risks and hardships” to voters not accustomed to casting ballots by mail. Additionally, they demanded that all “inactive” voters should also receive a ballot. Clark County alone accounts for 81-percent of total inactive voters in the state. Through previous experience, Clark County estimates at least 90-percent of inactive ballots will be returned as undeliverable, after they spend about $184,000 to print and mail them. While these concessions have only been made by Clark County, attorneys for the plaintiffs encouraged election departments in other counties to follow suit.

While the lawsuit has been withdrawn, attorneys for the parties maintain that several of the state’s existing election laws remain unconstitutional, indicating that further legal challenges may be coming. Last week, state lawmakers approved spending nearly $5-million in federal grant money to help pay for the mail-in primary election, which includes the cost of reimbursing technology and equipment incurred by counties, the cost of printing and postage, and a marketing campaign to encourage people to vote by mail.

Culinary Union Responds to Guidelines – After reviewing the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s (GCB) proposed reopening guidelines, the Las Vegas Culinary Workers Union has issued its own competing list of health and sanitation guidelines for gaming facilities that make even more specific recommendations than the GCB’s proposal. Highlights of their request include:

  • Test all workers for COVID-19 and antibodies before they can return to work
  • Add thermal monitoring of guests and workers on all properties
  • Make personal protective equipment (PPE) available to workers and guests
  • Implement more frequent and intensive cleaning of all surfaces
  • Train workers to follow new cleaning order
  • Implement strict enforcement of social distancing among guests and workers at all properties

SNAP Recipients to Purchase Food Online – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the state of Nevada’s request for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to soon purchase food online. In Nevada, more than 200,000 households participate in SNAP and receive nearly $600-million in federal benefits each year. Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon and Washington have already rolled out online purchasing, while several states, including California and Arizona are in the process of also implementing the online program. Roughly 38 million Americans currently collect benefits from SNAP (formerly known as food stamps).

Rental Assistance to Nevada – Nevada Senators Jacky Rosen (D) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D) announced Tuesday that roughly $2.6-million in CARES Act funding has been awarded to Nevada to be used for tenant-based rental assistance. The CARES Act provided $1.25-billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, including $400-million for increased subsidy costs and $850-million for administrative and other expenses incurred by public housing authorities.

Elective Medical Procedures Resume – Renown Health in Reno announced Tuesday that the hospital will resume limited medical and surgical procedures after more than six weeks of suspension. Procedures for non-high-risk patients, excluding the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, will resume beginning May 11. Until a vaccine or proven COVID-19 treatment is available, however, Renown is taking extra steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including screening individuals as they enter Renown sites, testing patients for COVID-19 that are scheduled for procedures up to five days prior to scheduled surgery and adding visitor restrictions.

Lake Tahoe Firework Shows Canceled – As the effects of the coronavirus continue taking toll on events across the country, Truckee and North Lake Tahoe officials have canceled their respective Fourth of July firework events held in Donner Lake and the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. The decision follows the recent announcement that the Incline Village/Crystal Bay firework show has been canceled for 2020. While NBC’s Today show recognizes the firework show in South Lake Tahoe as one of the top five displays in the country, the decision whether to hold that event will be made next week.

Federal Government Developments

White House Coronavirus Task Force to End – Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Tuesday that the White House coronavirus task force will start to wind down beginning Memorial Day, but key medical experts will continue advising the President daily. As Governors continue open their respective states as they see fit, officials expect the White House to continue playing a backdrop role while delegating the main responsibilities back to various government agencies. While news of phasing out the task force comes as the country’s daily COVID-19 reported deaths plateaus, a model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts a doubling of U.S. deaths by August 4.

Texas Continues to Reopen – Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that personal services, like barber shops, nail salons and hair salons can open on May 8 as long as customers and employees wear face masks, while gyms can open May 18 with limited capacity to 25-percent. The announcement follows the reopening of restaurants, malls, and movie theaters in the state last Friday. Texas is, so far, the most populous state to begin reopening, despite having nearly 34,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 5.

  • There are 5,630 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 4,408 confirmed cases. Of those, 3,056 have recovered.
    • Washoe County has 988 confirmed cases. Of those, 55 are hospitalized and 400 have recovered.
    • Carson City has 48 confirmed cases. Of those, 28 have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 53 confirmed cases. Of those, three (3) are hospitalized and 11 have recovered.
    • Nye County has 39 confirmed cases. Of those, 18 have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 35 confirmed cases. Of those, 13 have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 21 confirmed cases. Of those, 17 have recovered.
    • Elko County has 15 confirmed cases. Of those, 10 have recovered.
    • Lander County has 13 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 three (3) confirmed cases.
  • Nevada has reported 266 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 226 were in Clark County, 34 were in Washoe County, three (3) were in Humboldt County, one (1) was in Elko County and one (1) was in Carson City.
  • Over 48,000 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada.

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