All information in this COVID-19 Response Resource issue is effective as of April 28, 2020.

In late March, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak acted upon the pattern of escalating cases of COVID-19 in nearby states like California and Washington, by issuing a series of statewide emergency orders. The earliest of these was to declare a state of emergency to make Nevada more easily eligible for federal assistance in addressing the disease. On March 15, this declaration was followed with the closure of all public schools, and most dramatically, on the March 20, with the closure of all non-essential businesses statewide.

Further clarifications through subsequent orders both allowed local municipalities to let some earlier shuttered businesses re-open in a limited capacity and clarified that some businesses were designed to have been closed the entire time. Examples include bars that do not serve food, and who, under normal circumstances, might not be able to allow patrons to leave with a cocktail or beer. Some of these establishments have recently been allowed to reopen in a limited capacity, serving “curbside cocktails” or other products, which must be fully sealed in a way that is tamper evident, and are subject to several other restrictions designed to make over-service or open containers more avoidable.

In general, Nevada’s stay-at-home order has been extended twice. Once designed to end April 6, the period of closure was extended to April 16, and then April 30. With that date looming large, Governor Sisolak outlined in a press conference last week, and in several interviews since, his willingness to continue such closures until it’s deemed safe for people to return to businesses in a limited capacity, and that continuing to protect vulnerable communities by social distancing en masse was working, and a crucial part of the strategy of re-opening. Further, he opined that a firm deadline was not a practicable prediction in the current circumstances.

As of April 27, Governor Sisolak announced that Nevada has joined the coalition of West Coast state governments who, realizing the interests of our neighboring states have often been tied to each other’s own, have decided to coordinate a reopening based on standards articulated by Governor Gavin Newsome of California. These standards condition the beginning of a careful, staged reopening of a state’s economy based on the almost ubiquitous (or at least far-enhanced) availability of accurate testing for COVID-19 infection or prior infection, the hiring of a very large strike team of local “contact tracers,” to help epidemiological efforts to mitigate via quarantine the spread of the virus and a sustained downward trend in the number of new infections, with the caveat that these stages of reopening can be reversed if that downward trend begins to reverse.

As these circumstances are changing rapidly (indeed, often as quickly as one can write about them) it can be difficult to give precise prognoses as to exactly how long or in what form or focus these efforts at distancing and quarantining will continue. The very near future will tell what further extensions or declarations Governor Sisolak must make as well as what further steps a business being allowed to re-open may have to take to ensure that they are in compliance with latest orders but also be available and ready to cater to the needs of an entire region that is eager to get back to work.

For questions concerning this or related issues, contact Zachary Shea by calling (775) 789-6556 or send an email to