RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada reported its second death from the coronavirus Friday as the governor announced he signed an emergency order to force non-essential businesses to close, turning his initial request for them to shutter into a requirement.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a news conference streamed online that the order he signed gives local governments and law enforcement power to punish businesses considered non-essential that violate his order and remain open starting Sunday.
The order gives local governments the ability to punish those businesses by imposing fines or revoking their business licenses, Sisolak said. Only essential businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and hardware stores, can remain open until the governor's order expires April 16.
Marijuana dispensaries can stay open only if they deliver to customers. The governor's office released a list earlier this week of businesses considered essential and non-essential.
“I know that if we don't take another step, we will lose may more Nevadans and we can't afford that in this state,” Sisolak said.
Less than an hour after his comments were made, health officials near Las Vegas announced a second death from the virus. The Southern Nevada Health District said a woman in her 60s with unspecified underlying medical conditions died after testing positive for COVID-19.
A look at some of the other impacts of the coronavirus outbreak in Nevada:
The number of coronavirus cases in Nevada reached at least 150 on Friday, according to local health officials. That includes the first cases in rural Nye and Elko counties. Two deaths have been reported in Clark County. Sisolak said Friday that the state doesn't have enough test kits to know the full scope of infections in the state. The governor said he's begged the federal government for more, but Nevada was told Thursday that its request is on “an indefinite backlog, without any estimate of a timeline for delivery.”
Sparks Justice Court has joined Las Vegas Justice Court in suspending eviction proceedings for 30 days. Those suspensions covering all residents in Clark County and some in Washoe County are in addition to a 60-day suspension of foreclosures and evictions the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Department announced Friday for all mortgages insured nationwide by the Federal Housing Administration. Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine says approximately 85% of single-family homeowners in Nevada are insured by the FHA. Reno Justice Court has suspended default evictions typically ordered if a resident fails to show up in court, but they still have to participate in a remote hearing with an extended deadline.
Under pressure from students and parents, the University of Nevada, Reno has reversed course and agreed to offer partial refunds for residence hall payments and meal plans as students complete the semester through remote instruction.
AP writers Ken Ritter and Michelle L. Price in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that indicated Reno Justice Court had ordered a blanket suspension of all evictions for 30 days.
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