Sisolak extends ‘pause’ restrictions
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Sunday rejected the idea of shutting down Nevada businesses, instead extending the existing restrictions on everything from bars and restaurants to gyms and casinos.
He urged Nevadans to comply with mask mandates, social distancing, hand washing and other restrictions including not gathering in large groups to try bringing the virus under control, that he put into place three weeks ago. He said if Nevadans don’t, he might be forced to implement tougher restrictions.
The existing rules that put most businesses at 25 percent capacity will continue through January 15 when Sisolak said he hopes the administration of millions of vaccines will begin to slow the spread of the virus.
“The vaccine is on the horizon,” he said. “We are fighting the virus. We cannot fight one another.”
He also said he was extending Nevada’s the moratorium on evicting renters from their homes for non-payment.
“We need to ensure protections for tenants,” he said, adding that he understands the burden is hard on landlords but asking them to again, do more for a few months. He emphasized that the moratorium on evictions doesn’t relieve tenants from the responsibility to make those back payments once the state recovers.
He said allowing evictions would only increase the impacts on shelters and other housing options, making them vulnerable to being overloaded, forcing people on the streets and increasing COVID infections in those shelters.
Sisolak had some harsh words for the federal government that he said has contradicted its own recommendations for the past nine months. He said the Centers For Disease Control said at one point the way to stem the infections was a complete shutdown but that, “they did it without sending a check.”
“A shutdown is unrealistic without additional support.”
He said the federal government has left the states to “balance health and the impact to our economy.” He said not only Nevada but other states need help; and that there will be a huge impact if the existing pandemic programs are allowed to expire at the end of the year without Congress and the president passing additional assistance.
Sisolak said it took Nevada almost 10 years to recover from the great depression. Without federal help, he said it could be worse trying to recover from this pandemic.
“More than nine months ago, the federal government handed the states the responsibility for dealing with this pandemic,” he said. “We did. We all stepped up.”
But he said they never received the help they need from the federal government.
“We were told to hang in there,” he said.
He said if senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, doesn’t think people need help, he would invite him to come to Nevada and look at the state’s hospitals.
“When he opposes money for state and local governments, he opposes money for food and health care<’ Sisolak said.
He urged the federal government to “throw politics to the side and focus on people.”