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Municipalities respond to governor’s COVID-19 surge warning

Updated November 12, 2020 - 5:48 am

North Las Vegas will close its City Hall to the public for two weeks amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

“It’s just one less reason for people to be out and about,” City Manager Ryann Juden said Wednesday. The city, he said, can conduct business virtually.

Juden said upcoming City Council and planning commission meetings will be canceled, and most staff meetings will be held virtually. The city plans to hold its next council meeting on Dec. 2, he said.

A little more than half of the City Hall workforce will work remotely, he said.

The decision to close City Hall came Tuesday night, hours after Gov. Steve Sisolak urged Nevadans to limit trips into public for the next two weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Clearly, the governor from the very beginning has been driven by the science and protecting Nevadans,” Juden said. “And I think that his office is very concerned about the rise in cases and I think he’s doing all he can to try and protect Nevadans.”

Sisolak said the state needs time to catch up on contact tracing and ease the burden on health care systems.

He called for businesses to allow employees to work from home and said he would ask local authorities for stronger enforcement of coronavirus-related restrictions over the next two weeks.

North Las Vegas is already exceeding its required number of compliance checks as part of a regional effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but will increase the number of checks and focus on infection hotspots within the city, Juden said.

City spokesman Patrick Walker said he was unaware of any citations issued recently.

Clark County

There are presently no plans to close the Clark County Government Center, a county spokesman said Wednesday, but officials are evaluating whether more county employees can work from home.

“We still have quite a few employees teleworking,” spokesman Erik Pappa said in an email, noting that it is not an option, however, for employees out in the field.

The county is also evaluating additional enforcement options to ensure business compliance, according to Pappa, but it will continue its part in the regional commitment to the state’s COVID mitigation and management task force: to visit at least 5,300 businesses per week between all Southern Nevada governments.

Two weeks ago, County Manager Yolanda King sent an email to top county department officials and urged them to “remain steadfast in our responsibilities to continue to mitigate any impacts of the virus to our work environments” despite potential “COVID-Fatigue” that some could be experiencing, according to a copy of the email provided by the county to the Review-Journal.

Henderson

Henderson also exceeds its compliance check quota, according to spokeswoman Kathleen Richards. She said in an email that the city is visiting 800 to 1,000 businesses per week.

City Manager Richard Derrick said Henderson would increase its enforcement efforts and penalize noncompliant businesses. The city will also increase its public outreach for complying with COVID-19 safety measures, he said.

In an email Wednesday morning, Deputy City Manager Bristol Ellington told city staff that employees who can work remotely should do so.

Richards said much of the city’s workforce has been working remotely since March.

Staff meetings and public meetings in Henderson will be conducted virtually, she said.

Richards wrote in an email that the city will “reinforce” measures such as the use of face coverings, social distancing and health screenings.

“We foresee no changes to the programs and services we provide to the community, we are already following the CDC’s recommendations to protect the health and safety of employees and residents,” she wrote.

Henderson has no plans to close City Hall, she said.

Las Vegas

In a tweet Wednesday, the city said it would continue strictly adhering to mandated public health guidelines and that City Hall would remain open until further notice. A message seeking additional comment was not immediately returned.

Nellis Air Force Base

On Wednesday, Nellis Air Force Base said it was permitting telework for employees to “the maximum extent possible,” limiting large groups and requiring face coverings on base.

“Airmen are highly encouraged to avoid crowds, bars, and individuals not following (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance and State of Nevada policy,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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