Understanding and responding to the business and legal impacts of COVID-19

Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 24, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

July 24, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed and up to date with political and COVID-19 information in Nevada.

State and Local News

Unemployment Fraud in Nevada – The Nevada Attorney General and U.S. Attorney General’s Office announced the formation of a task force to investigate unemployment claim fraud, after local governments across the state continue to field hundreds of fake claims filed by fraudsters who have obtained public employee information and using it to apply for benefits filed by fraudsters who have obtained public employee information and using it to apply for benefits through the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). While the state has released little information related to the extent of the problem, an investigation made by the Reno Gazette-Journal found more than 500 instances in which a faulty claim was filed on behalf of a public or private sector employee in northern Nevada. Employment fraud is not uncommon in the unemployment system, however, as Nevada’s fraud rate was the highest in the nation in 2019 at 5.8-percent. High unemployment numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to even more instances, as 343,149 initial claims have been filed to date.

OSHA Updates Directive Enforcement Policy – The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated the process for enforcement of Governor Sisolak’s directives under the State of Emergency to adapt to the unprecedented circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes to the agency’s enforcement process will help the state accomplish the goals set forth in the Governor’s Reopening Response Plan. The new process features three steps:

  1. Observation – The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) can make unannounced visits to businesses to observe and report compliance with provisions of the Governor’s directives, such as face covering mandates and social distancing requirements. Businesses that are not in compliance will be issued a warning and provided with general or industry-specific guidance.
  2. Follow-up visit – OSHA will conduct a follow-up visit to businesses found to be noncompliant in the first observation. If there is continued noncompliance, an investigation can be opened by OSHA that may lead to a citation. Citations come with a notice that allows the DIR Administrator to issue an order requiring the cease of business activity in the event noncompliance continues.
  3. Post-citation visit – After a business is cited, OSHA will conduct a third visitation that will determine whether the business will be ordered to cease activity or be authorized to continue operations.

OSHA noted in its announcement the possibility of future changes to the enforcement policy as the public health crisis continues to evolve. Full information regarding the change in OSHA’s enforcement process can be found at http://dir.nv.gov/OSHA/Home/.

High School Sports Canceled for the Fall – The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) announced Thursday that Fall sports will be postponed until March 2021 due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no state playoffs anticipated for this school year. Additionally, participation in NIAA sanctioned sports is at the option of schools and districts, and the holding of practices and competitions are subject to government directives, orders from state and local health departments, and local district and school mandates. The affected sports include football, boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball, girls golf, boys and girls tennis, and boys and girls soccer. Nevada joins a number of western states that have either postponed or delayed Fall sports, including California, which issued a three-month delay.

CDC Calls for Schools to Reopen – Amid a nationwide debate over the prospect of children returning to in-person learning this Fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a message Thursday calling for schools to reopen, reversing course from previous statements that noted the severe public health risks and challenges. The statement pointed to the inadvertent consequences that accompany school closures, including the strain on social, emotional and behavior health, as well as the academic achievement of students. The switch in messaging comes after President Donald Trump criticized the CDC’srecommendation for distance learning, calling it challenging and expensive. The statement notes the low transmission and infection rate among young children, as well as the low severity of their symptoms as opposed to adults. The recommendation comes as schools districts across the country grapple with the decision to open in-person or hold instruction online, as the United States hit 4 million known COVID-19 cases, 1 million of which were recorded in just 15 days.

Reno Housing Shelter to Close – The City of Reno’s temporary housing shelter, erected to house the homeless during COVID-19 to help with social distancing, will close permanently on August 3. The Downtown Reno Events Center was converted in March by Volunteers of America (VOA) to hold 320 beds, with an average of 250 occupied beds each night. Those inhabitants will be moved to other nearby centers, including back to the Community Assistance Center, which was closed in late March due to an increase in demand and social distancing concerns. The 118,000 square foot event center gave VOA additional capacity to meet the community’s need, while allowing for mattresses to be spread out according to the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended 6-foot guidelines.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada –

Nevada COVID-19 Numbers – Nevada surpassed 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as 966 additional cases were confirmed Friday, bringing the total to 40,885. There were an additional 13 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 722 since the pandemic began. While Clark County continues to lead in the highest amount of confirmed cases, Washoe County announced its third highest daily total to date on Thursday, as officials continue to warn individuals with pre-existing conditions to be especially careful due to their greater risk for developing complications.

Numbers –

New Cases: 966
Total Cases: 40,885
Current Hospitalizations: 1,160
Total Fatalities: 722


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