Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – May 7, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

May 7, 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

Nevada Moving to Phase 1 on Saturday – Governor Steve Sisolak announced Thursday his intention to move Nevada to a Phase 1 reopening plan effective Saturday, May 9. Due to the decrease in COVID-19 cases since April 21, the Governor stated that the trend is strong enough to meet the criteria for Phase 1. The new Directive will expire on May 30, unless otherwise ordered.

Phase 1 allows a local government to impose stricter rules than the state standards.

The following businesses may reopen 12:00 a.m. Saturday, with restrictions:

  • Restaurants are allowed to open dine-in service under strict social distancing requirements, including requiring employees to wear face coverings and encouraging customers to as well, to the extent practicable to wear face coverings, limiting seating capacity to 50-percent, bar seating must remain closed, reservations should be required, tables must be spaced at least six-feet apart, and if waiting to be seated, patrons must wait outside.
  • Barber shops, hair and nail salons may open under strict social distancing requirements. Partitions or walls are strongly encouraged, so each chair/workstation can be used at any given time. If there is no partition, chairs/workstations must be placed at least six-feet apart. Additionally, services shall be by appointment only, customers must wait outside while waiting for their appointment, technicians must wear face coverings, and salons must follow the “Enhanced Sanitation Guidelines for Salons in Response to COVID-19” issued by the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology.
  • Retail businesses may open to no more than 50-percent of allowed occupancy based on applicable fire code and are strongly encouraged to promote and continue online or call-in orders.
  • Open air malls may open with strict social distancing requirements, while indoor malls must remain closed but can continue to operate with curbside or pick-up options
  • Automobile, ATV and recreational vehicle dealerships are encouraged to sell by appointment only with showroom areas to not exceed 50-percent capacity based on applicable fire code. Test drives are only allowed with a customer or customer household member(s) without a dealership representative.
  • Drive-in movie theaters may open, while other movie theaters must remain closed.
  • Retail cannabis dispensaries may conduct in-store sales after submitting a plan and receiving approval from the Marijuana Enforcement Division and are encouraged to continue curbside, delivery and pick-up operations. If approval is received, no more than 10 customers or 50-percent of allowed occupancy based on fire code will be allowed, whichever is fewer. Employees must also wear face coverings.
  • Gaming Establishments will not reopen in Phase 1. The reopening decisions rest with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
  • Transportation, paratransit, vehicle rental services, taxis, transportation network companies (such as Uber and Lyft), marinas, docks, boat storage, and other private, public and commercial transportation providers, may continue to open and operate subject to social distancing requirements.
  • Professional services, such as legal services, accounting and real estate services should be conducted virtually or by telephone whenever possible.

Businesses that cannot reopen during Phase 1 include:

  • Nightclubs
  • Bars, pubs and taverns that do not have a license to serve food
  • Gyms and fitness facilities, including health clubs, yoga, bar and spin facilities
  • Entertainment and recreational activity venues
  • Brothels and houses of prostitution
  • Adult entertainment establishments
  • Spas
  • Aesthetic service establishments, excluding nail and hair salons and barber shops
  • Body art and piercing establishments

For Individuals, Phase 1 highlights include:

  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged in public
  • All Nevadans are strongly encouraged to continue staying at home and limiting trips outside of their homes
  • Public and private gatherings should be limited to ten (10) or fewer people, unless with individuals from the same household
  • Vulnerable populations, such as individuals who are 65 years and older, individuals with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women, should continue to shelter in place
  • Visits to senior living facilities, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and hospitals remain prohibited
  • Continue to maintain at least six-feet of social distancing for non-household members
  • Avoid non-essential travel and adhere to self-quarantine recommendation when returning to Nevada
  • If tested positive for COVID-19, self-quarantine for at least two weeks

For Businesses and Employers, Phase 1 Mandates:

  • All employers shall require employees who interact with the public to wear face coverings
  • All essential and nonessential businesses opening or continuing operations under this directive must adopt measures from the Nevada State Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to minimize the spread of COVID-19

For Businesses and Employers, Phase 1 Guidelines:

  • Businesses are encouraged to have customers wear face coverings
  • Telework is encouraged whenever possible and feasible with business operations. If necessary, return to work in phases
  • Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate, or endorse strict social distancing protocols
  • Follow guidance from the Nevada Labor Commission regarding sick leave policies to prevent discrimination in the workplace
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of the vulnerable population
  • Remind employees to stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, practice hand hygiene and encourage a daily self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Frequently perform enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly touched surfaces

Nevada Gaming Commission Sets Guidelines – The Nevada Gaming Commission approved a set of health and safety policies Thursday that casinos and other gaming establishments will have to follow when they reopen to the public. The guidelines, originally made public last week, enforce policies such as limiting the number of people at a table game, constant cleaning of surfaces and commonly touched items, keeping nightclubs and pools closed, and arranging chairs to encourage social distancing. Both guidance’s for restrictive and nonrestrictive licensees were approved by the Board unanimously. However, Gaming Control Board Chairwoman did acknowledge the changing COVID-19 situation and moving government regulations, stating, “these are examples and this is a fluid situation.”

IFC to Access Rainy Day Funds – In response to steep shortfalls in revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, legislators on the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) will meet next Wednesday to vote on a measure that will release more than $400-million in budget reserves from the state’s Rainy Day fund, otherwise known as the Account to Stabilize the Operation of State Government. The committee will take a motion to declare the state to be in a “fiscal emergency,” making the first of several procedural steps necessary to access the funds. The vote on Wednesday does not definitively determine the amount of money that will be taken out of the Rainy Day fund, nor to which state agencies the money will the allocated. Last month, fiscal analyst Jeremy Aguero estimated an approximate $700-million to $900-million decrease in total revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Redistricting Ballot Initiative – The group backing the ballot question aiming to create an independent redistricting commission in Nevada has filed a federal lawsuit against election officials seeking to extend the collection deadline for signatures. They also seek the ability to collect signatures electronically. Fair Maps Nevada, the political action committee behind the ballot question, argues in the lawsuit that the traditional way of gathering signatures is “extremely challenging” given COVID-19 shutdowns, and that nothing in state law requires for signatures to be gathered in person. Petitioners need to obtain 97,598 signatures to qualify for the ballot, which must be submitted for verification, currently set for June 24. A hearing has been scheduled for May 21.

Washoe County Commission Backs Out of Lawsuit – The Washoe County Commission voted Thursday to remove their support in filing an amicus brief on the lawsuit filed by the Nevada Osteopathic Medical Association against the Nevada Board of Pharmacy on their restrictions of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Chairman Bob Lucey originally brought the item forward in April when the Board voted 4-1 to file the amicus brief, with Commissioner Kitty Jung against. After consultation with legal and medical professionals, as well as the changing dynamic of COVID-19 and new medications proving a success, Chairman Lucey made the motion to reconsider filing the brief. The board voted 4-1, with Commissioner Jeanne Herman against.

Federal Government Developments

Paycheck Protection Program Updated Numbers – As of Wednesday, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had approved over 2.44 million loans during the second round of funding for more than $183-billion. In total, over 4 million small businesses have been approved loans, totaling nearly $525-billion. The average loan size for round two is just over $75,000. In the 24-hours prior to releasing numbers, only $2.37-billion in loans was approved, an early indication that fewer businesses are applying because they have already been approved.
New Unemployment Numbers – A U.S. government report released Thursday shows that an additional 3.2 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total over seven weeks to more than 33 million individuals. The Labor Department is expected to release their monthly jobs report Friday, anticipated to show that the unemployment rate in April was 15-percent or higher, reaching Depression-era levels.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Thursday , May 7.

  • There are 5,852 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 4,573 confirmed cases. Of those, 3,768 have recovered.
    • Washoe County has 1,030 confirmed cases. Of those, 47 are hospitalized and 431 have recovered.
    • Carson City has 51 confirmed cases. Of those, 30 have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 58 confirmed cases. Of those, three (3) are hospitalized and 11 have recovered.
    • Nye County has 42 confirmed cases. Of those, 18 have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 36 confirmed cases. Of those, 15 have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 22 confirmed cases. Of those, 19 have recovered.
    • Elko County has 15 confirmed cases. Of those, 10 have recovered.
    • Lander County has 14 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.
    • Lincoln County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Nevada has reported 288 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 245 were in Clark County, 38 were in Washoe County, three (3) were in Humboldt County, one (1) was in Elko County and one (1) was in Carson City.
  • Over 49,600 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada.

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