Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak Says State Is Not Ready for Phase 3

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Getty Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak gave a press conference on June 15 letting Nevadans know that the state was not yet ready to enter Phase 3 of reopening, local TV news station KLAS-8 reported.

The state entered Phase 2 on May 29, and cases have jumped significantly since then; according to the Nevada Health Department, on June 15 the state had its fourth-highest jump in testing in the past 24 hours, KLAS-8 reported.

In a tweet thread, the governor explained his reasoning, noting that “we were able to enter Phases 1 & 2 because Nevadans were staying home as much as possible, generally wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently & maintaining 6 feet of social distancing. Now is the time to double down on them. We can only stay open if we stay safe.”

Sisolak Said the Virus Will Dictate the Timeline

The Reno Gazette Journal reported that Sisolak said the state was “not ready” and said at a press conference, “The timeline will be dictated by the virus.” He said:

Nevadans have made enormous sacrifices to get us where we’re at today, enormous sacrifices. They’ve stayed away from their families, their extended families. They haven’t been able to go out and eat out as much as they would want to … They’ve avoided group gatherings and so forth. They (practice) social distancing and good hygiene, and they’ve worn facial coverings.

He also said he would be monitoring the percentage of positive cases, surge capacity, ventilator usage, personal protective equipment levels at the hospitals and contact tracing programs, according to the Nevada Independent.

Nevada Is Seeing a Surge in Coronavirus Cases After Reopening

Since the beginning of June, bars, gyms, swimming pools and spas have been open, according to KLAS-8. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, businesses that remain closed in Phase 2 include nightclubs, adult entertainment establishments and brothels.

Most businesses have limited capacity to 50%, and indoor gatherings have been limited to 50 people, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

In the past two and a half weeks, Nevada’s Clark County reported 207 new cases, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. On June 15, the state saw its cases increase by more than 100 in 24 hours, KLAS-8 reported.

Sisolak also said one of the hang-ups is the need to expand the state’s contact tracing system, the capacity for which has tripled since last weekend.

Nevada Is Facing a Budget Shortage

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The Nevada Independent reported that the state is expecting a $1.3 billion shortage of revenue from its annual fiscal budget of $4.5 billion. Sisolak has said that he planned on reducing the shortage by laying off 50 state employees, freezing merit pay and giving the employees a furlough once a month.

Sisolak has also said he expects to reduce the current shortage in the state’s budget — which equates to roughly $812 million —during a special legislative legislation, the Nevada Independent reported. He also said he has not ruled out filling the budget with a tax increase but did say health and retirement benefits were off-limits, public radio station KUNR reported.

According to KUNR, lawmakers have already used $400 million from the state’s rainy-day reserve fund and received $1.25 billion from the federal government.

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