Brownstein Client Alert, May 8, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on the country, but the Nevada economy is being impacted in ways that we have never contemplated. Gov. Steve Sisolak has demonstrated strong leadership in the face of this unprecedented public health crisis, but he has been forced to make difficult decisions that impact all Nevadans. Most recently, on May 7, 2020, Gov. Sisolak announced that he will continue to ease restrictions previously put in place because of the pandemic and move into phase one of his reopening plan announced on April 30. This comes after he issued Emergency Directive #016 on April 29, extending the stay-at-home order and other previous directives.
Under Directive #016 the stay-at-home order was extended until at least May 15, 2020, and possibly longer depending on health and testing data. All other directives, discussed in detail in the first edition of “What Does the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis Mean for Nevada Businesses?”, were extended to May 15 as well. However, the directive started to loosen several categories of restrictions. All retail stores previously identified as non-essential were permitted to resume sales via curbside delivery so long as they comply with the social distancing guidance and other regulations that protect employees. Sports activities such as golf, tennis and pickleball could resume so long as participants comply with social distancing and other requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Religious services could resume under a drive-up model so long as individuals stay in their vehicles and remain six feet apart.
On April 30, 2020, Gov. Sisolak released the Nevada United Roadmap to Recovery. This roadmap identifies the factors necessary to begin lifting the restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the virus. Moving into the first phase will be based on five factors: (1) a 14-day downward trend in the virus data, (2) the ability of the health care system to handle new surges in patients, (3) testing capacity, (4) health care workforce and (5) the ability to protect vulnerable populations. Gov. Sisolak also established the Local Empowerment Advisory Panel, consisting of state and county officials and stakeholders to collaborate and determine on a county-by-county basis the metrics and best practices for the state to ease the restrictions. While it was clear at the time that Gov. Sisolak did not believe the restrictions could be lifted before May 15, he announced on May 7 that the data relating to the five factors was positive enough to move into phase one on May 9.
Most notably under the phase one guidelines, Gov. Sisolak announced categories of businesses that would be able to open on May 9 as well as certain categories that would still not be able to open during phase one. Establishments that may begin reopening include restaurants, and other establishments that serve food, retail stores and hair and nail salons. These openings come with restrictions such as reduced capacity, increased mask or facial covering requirements and other means to ensure social distancing. Unfortunately, establishments that are not yet permitted to open include: nightclubs, bars and other liquor establishments that do not serve food, gyms and fitness facilities, entertainment and recreational activity venues, adult entertainment venues, spas and aesthetic service establishments and body art and piercing establishments. Gaming establishments are still strictly prohibited from reopening and will not be permitted to resume without the approval of the Gaming Control Board. Furthermore, any county has the authority to implement stricter reopening guidelines if it is determined that such actions are necessary based on the health data in that particular county.
As this public health situation continues, Gov. Sisolak has made it clear that he will continue to take any action he deems necessary to protect the health and well-being of Nevada residents, which may include tightening restrictions again if the health data is negatively impacted by the openings. We can only hope that the worst is over, and the crisis will soon be behind us, but it will take continued efforts from all Nevadans to keep the ramifications of the pandemic at bay. Rebounding will be difficult for many, but fortunately the relief the federal government has recently provided and is continuing to debate has helped many Nevada businesses survive this very challenging time. We are all in this together, and together we will, as Americans and as Nevadans, get through it.
This article was written on May 7, 2020. Information is changing daily and some of the content included in this piece may have changed or been updated.
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This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding the impact of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak's emergency measures on businesses. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.