Governor Steve Sisolak Thursday evening laid out a pathway to lead Nevada out of the Corona Virus quagmire that has ended the lives of so many Nevadans and our fellow Americans around the country – if not the world.
Governor Sisolak said the state climbing out of our dilemma involves both public health and our economic crisis. He said our efforts should be federally supported, state managed and locally carried out. Governor Sisolak says Nevada will be re-opened in phases just like it was closed down in phases – under the watchful eye of the Centers for Disease Control and medical experts. He said the state must play close attention to our “at-risk” populations – low income families, tribal communities racial and ethnic minorities, our military veterans and especially the elderly living in nursing homes. State prisons are also potential hot spots for the virus.
Governor Sisolak emphasized that the economic recovery and re-opening process will have to be flexible depending on the size and complexity of our cities and smaller communities. One approach doesn’t fit all. The primary goal is to keep the virus trending downward – we don’t want sudden spikes. If we get spikes we must be agile and prevent their spread. As yet there is no vaccine for the Covid-19 virus. Scientists are working on that and from early developments they seem hot on the trail to produce more than one variety of vaccine. A hybrid vaccine developed by the Israelis, Remdesivir, seems to be leading the pack of potential competing vaccines – and we may need several varieties to keep up with the virus if it starts mutating over time.
Govenor Sisolak continued to preach vigilance at social distancing so as to minimize viral spikes. Testing, testing, testing is at the heart of the battle – especially for those who have the virus but have no symptoms. At the moment, the number and severity of cases have leveled off – even declined slightly. But we’re not out of the woods yet. Contact tracing is the detective work that will lead to victory over the virus.
Governor Sisolak says after May 15th there will be allowed some expansion of outdoor and recreational activities and some economic relief for our small businesses. All small businesses will be allowed to serve their customers at curbside delivery points. That also includes marijuana dispensaries. Church “drive ins” are also allowed as long as they stay in their vehicles and maintain at least a six foot gap between vehicles. Relaxing restrictions on outdoor activities is also on the menu including golf (don’t forget the six foot rule), pickelball and tennis – also the six foot rule.
May 15th is likely the start date for relaxing the strict confines of what has pretty much been a community-wide lock-down. Even after May 15th, six foot spacing will remain in place. And don’t forget to wear your face mask when you’re out and about. They are now REQUIRED!
When PHASE 1 kicks in May 15th there still will be a prohibition of groupings of over ten individuals. We’ll see the re-opening of some outdoor spaces and small businesses – again with the six foot limit enforced. Stand-alone retail stores will be allowed to re-open but business employees and the public must wear a face mask. Curbside pickup or home delivery is encouraged but, depending on how things are going. If the virus continues its downward trend, inside-business shopping will be considered.
Dine-in restaurants and personal care services will also be considered but with strict guidelines to protect the health and safety of diners, store workers and customers. We want all Nevadans to be safe.
Moving right along…even though we’ll soon be moving into “Phase One” status, bars and nightclubs will remain shut down, along with shopping malls, large sporting events and concerts. As for gaming establishments that’ll be up to the State Gaming Control Board but they’re not expected to re-open the gaming industry until we hit Phase Two.
There will also be created what’s called the LEAP group of highly skilled business managers and industry representatives, workers, labor organizations, public health authorities, medical experts, local government representatives, state legislators and others as needed, who will be recommending methods to help the state to come back to life – to make sure the state doesn’t outrun its ability to keep things under control and to acknowledge differences in regulations that are required of Nevada’s big cities, versus medium sized cities, to those that are quite small and to adjust parameters to properly accommodate them all.
Governor Sisolak said “As we make progress throughout Phase 1, we will assess the information and thereby possibly go on to Phase Two – called the Silver State Stabilization Phase. There will be carefully considered easing of restrictions on business and public life “as appropriate” because we don’t want to give the Covid-19 virus another bite of the apple. Sisolak says “We will not enter a new phase unless the data demonstrates that our public health system still has everything under control. If there is a rise in Covid-19 cases there could be some reverting back to prior restrictions until data shows we’re back in charge – not the virus. The Covid-19 virus is very aggressive – far more menacing than regular versions of the flu.”
Sisolak finished up by saying “I believe our frontline medical teams, our first responders like fire, police and sheriff’s deputies, local government officials, generous neighbors, dedicated local businesses, government leaders, our entire U.S. Congressional Delegation, both our U.S. Senators and many out-of-work Nevadans who are now giving their time to food banks and other great causes have all stepped up to the plate and have contributed heroically. And to them I say, THANK YOU! We’ll get through this, together.”