Posted on Mar 18, 2020, 3 p.m.
For those who may not be aware the President has announced that he is invoking the Defense Production Act, just in case we need it. This goes along with the emergency declaration that was signed under the Stafford Act, which activated FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center to be actively engaged at all levels. The FDA has given the green light to 2 new tests, and testing sites are finally set to be opening nationwide.
In an aggressive strategy to help slow the spread of COVID-19 Governor Steve Sisolak announced an order on March 17, 2020 in a press conference, explaining that there will be a 30 days shut down order in the state of Nevada of all non-essential businesses to close to the public. This follows a similar order in some counties within California.
Note: Updated 3/20/20 to include information from the press conference held at the Governor's office, details at the bottom of the article.
Citizens of Nevada “are being told not to go out” he said in a stern voice. All residents of Nevada must maintain a social distance of 6 feet per person for non family members and all gatherings should be postponed or cancelled such as a wedding and travel.
“This is not the time for sleepovers, play dates, concerts, theater outings, or athletic events. Although you might not be experiencing symptoms at this time you may be contagious. Do not risk your health or the health of others… This is not a vacation and it is not a time to catch up with friends and it is definitely not the time to go to the movies. Every social contact increases your risk of exposure, the bigger the group the higher the risk….If your business brings groups of people together it should not be open.” While not directly saying places of faith should be closed the governor said, “I strongly urge our faith leaders to find ways to deliver to your congregation without bringing them together in person.”
Charitable food distribution sites including the meals being distributed to students in the wake of the school closings along with groceries stores should remain fully opened and operational.
Food services for healthcare facilities and other essential facilities should remain open. Any buffet or food station using charitable food distribution settings should be transitioned to boxed meals or served through gloved staff members/volunteers. Grocery stores are urged to set aside shopping hours for our most vulnerable population and seniors.
Throughout Nevada restaurants, pubs, wineries, bars and breweries that include meals provided by a full kitchen should be reduced to serving food only in a drive thru, take out at the curb, or delivery capacities. No dine in food establishments should be allowed until further notice which includes food courts, coffee shops, catered events, clubs, bowling alleys, and other similar venues in which people congregate for the purpose of consumption of food and/or beverages. Pubs, bars, wineries, breweries and similar establishments that do not include meals that are provided by a full kitchen must close.
“To summarize I am telling nonessential businesses you have two choices. Find a way to service your customers through delivery, drive through, curbside pick up or front door service or close your doors.”
After consultation with the gaming board, all gaming machines, devices, table games and any equipment related to gaming activity is to be shut down effective midnight March 17, 2020. Restaurants and bars located within gaming properties are subject to the same restrictions as outlined above.
The Governor ensures that they are working to make sure that there is as little disruption as possible to transportation and the supply chain to Nevada during this time. As such truck stops and truck service centers will remain open so that motor carriers will be able to deliver supplies as needed.
These COVID-19 measures are effective as of noon March 18. 2020 for 30 days and then will be evaluated at that time.
This includes closures of K-12 schools, casinos, beauty salons, barber shops, nails/tanning/waxing salons, fitness centers, community recreation centers, club houses, movie theaters, malls, retail shopping centers, additionally it is recommended to avoid auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, large conference rooms, meeting halls, and cafeterias in places that may be remaining open.
Essential services such transportation and healthcare services in addition to business that provide food, shelter and social services such as banks/financial institutions, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors offices, clinics, police, fire, ambulance, grocery and hardware stores, veterinarian offices, drug and convenience stores, delivery services, gas stations, and public transportation will remain open. Additionally day care centers can stay open with appropriate staffing to ensure social distancing separations and safety/protection protocols.
Businesses that are remaining open are encouraged to consider hiring those who will be out of working during this time; delivery services will need more drivers, call centers will need more people to handle the increased volume, and stores will need more help staying clean and stocking shelves as well as making deliveries and assisting the elderly, even medical establishments will need additional help for these same reasons.
Groups and entities across Nevada have stepped up and are trying to rise to the occasion. Within 24 hours the Department of Agriculture has set up over 70 sites so that children impacted by school closures can continue to receive free meals. Charter Communications is offering free access to Spectrum Broadband and will be providing WiFi for students. The Silver State Health Exchange is offering limited time enrollment.
Las Vegas Justice Courts announced they are suspending all eviction and foreclosure proceedings at this time. Many utility agencies have also agreed to suspend disconnections during this time. The Nevada Department of Employment Training And Rehabilitation encourages all residents of Nevada who have lost their job to file for unemployment online, and call center hours have been extended for those who can not access online services.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act will become law as soon as the Senate passes it and the President signs it, which helps to make sure that the healthcare industry has access to supplies, testing and life saving equipment required to protect patients as well as physicians and nurses alike. This Act will also be providing expanded emergency paid leave including up to two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months of paid family and medical leave, and funding for nutritional assistance programs as well as school meals.
Governor Sisolak hopes that Congress will support direct cash payments to people of all walks of life to help families pay their rent, put food on their tables, and keep their lives together as we already “have too many people living pay cheque to pay cheque as it is, and we know that the pandemic will make the odds longer for many.”
While the Nevada National Guard has not been activated they are standing at the ready to assist with community support in any capacity if and when they are called upon.
Jails and detention centers are operating at full capacity and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
To be clear he states that there will be no exceptions or loopholes in this order as the protection and well being of the people of Nevada is of the utmost concern and priority. It is incumbent upon us to protect ourselves, our families, and our most vulnerable populations
The governor encourages all of Nevada to cooperate and participate with this order: “Please, please take this seriously. Lives are at stake, and each day passing this pandemic is growing. Please stay home for Nevada…. Stay home to prevent the spread of the disease.”
As of the morning of Tuesday March 17, 2020 Governors in at least 12 states within America including California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Connecticut, and now Nevada have ordered the closure of non-essentials such as bars, restaurants and wineries in their states to help slow the spread of COVID-19 after public appeals for people to use their good judgement have failed due to people not taking their suggestions seriously, making the need for an order necessary.
Updated On March 20, 2020 to include the following:
Over Facebook live Governor Sisolak has just announced in a press conference On March 20, 2020 that due to a 70% increase in the cases of COVID-19 over the past 3 days he has fully authorized state and local governments the authority to impose civil penalties on non-essential businesses breaking the shut down order.
Non-essential businesses staying open are endangering citizens with mistaken and recklessly incorrect actions/decisions forcing the Governor to make more drastic measures than had previously been made and anticipated to protect all of Nevada, and he will continue to do so as the situation changes. This situation is going to get worse before it gets better, thus it requires by being more aggressive and making those tough choices to stop the full blown crisis that will overwhelm the healthcare system.
“As governor I have signed and declared a state of emergency...It's not easy and it's not ideal...I also know that if we don’t take another step we will lose many more Nevadans, and we can’t afford to do that… I won’t let my in-action make this crisis worse. I won’t look back in the months ahead and say I wish I had done more sooner.”
“Today I am taking that next step. I am directing all non-essential businesses to close. I repeat if you are not an essential business I am using my power as governor of an emergency declaration to order you to close. I am signing a new emergency directive, the third I've signed since declaring the state of emergency. This emergency directive is specific regulations and will be available to all immediately after these remarks.”
“There should be no confusion and there is none in my mind, ...this is not the time to try and find loopholes. If your business is non-essential to providing sustenance and for the everyday safety, health and wellbeing of Nevadans you must shut down.”
“By signing this directive I am granting local governments the authority that they do not currently have to impose civil penalties including fining and revoking license of businesses that do not shut down. If businesses defy this directive and stay open, state and local law enforcement will have the ability to treat this as a criminal act after all other options have been exhausted.”
This directive goes into place as of midnight March 20,2022 until April,16,2020 and will be reevaluated at that time, and could be revised as the situation changes.
“I am your governor and I want the best for each and everyone of you. I will continue to work tirelessly for you, but we can only do this together. Stay home for Nevada, and close your doors for now so that we can get them open for business sooner.”
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement