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Letters not required for workers at ‘essential’ businesses in Nevada

Updated April 3, 2020 - 3:11 pm

Although some “essential” businesses are giving letters to employees showing they are not covered by Gov. Steve Sisolak’s closure order, law enforcement officials say they aren’t questioning people about being outside their homes or asking them to provide proof that they work for such a business.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Aden OcampoGomez said Friday that the department has not directed officers to ask for proof that employees are essential when they are out in public during the coronavirus pandemic. To slow the spread of COVID-19, Sisolak this week issued a statewide stay-at-home order and mandated closures of schools, casinos and nonessential business through April 30.

“There is no requirement in the governor’s directive at this time that employers must issue letters of identification to their employees, and there is no requirement in the governor’s directive that employees must carry or produce any identification that they work for an essential business,” Ashley Forest, a spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general’s office, said in an emailed statement Thursday.

Forest also said that the attorney general’s office has not told local law enforcement agencies to start asking for people’s identification.

She said the agency is aware of “large retail employers” issuing letters to employees to show that they work for an essential business, “particularly if those retailers operate in other states that do require identification.” Some localities also have issued curfews for the public.

The stay-at-home order in Nevada built on previous directives from the governor’s office, including a ban on public gatherings of 10 or more people, Sisolak has said.

When asked if Metro has plans to enforce the directive regarding gatherings when officers see someone outside, police spokesman Larry Hadfield referred to a section of the directive that specified people are not prohibited from “engaging in outdoor activity, including without limitation, activities such as hiking, walking, or running.”

“At this point we would have to have more specific information on what the police can and can’t do,” Hadfield said Wednesday, later adding that the department would abide by any future directives from the governor regarding enforcement of the directive.

Hadfield said the department is urging citizens to follow the order not to venture outside unless necessary.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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