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Sisolak extends Phase Two through July

Updated June 29, 2020 - 4:59 pm

CARSON CITY – Nevada will stay in Phase Two of its COVID-19 recovery plan possibly until the end of July under an extension announced Monday by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The current Phase Two directive was set to expire Tuesday. The governor’s latest directive keeps it in effect for another month.

The move comes in response to the recent uptick in COVID-19 infection rates, and the need for more time to expand contact tracing and gauge the impacts of the face covering directive the governor announced last week, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Sisolak initially hit pause on moving into Phase Three on June 15 amid rising infection rates and other barometers of worsening disease spread, such as increased hospitalizations.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, the virus — and our personal actions to help mitigate its spread — drives the timeline,” Sisolak said in a statement. “As a state, we were able to begin reopening because Nevadans were staying home as much as possible, washing hands frequently and maintaining six feet of social distancing. Now, all Nevadans must wear face coverings to help slow the spread as well. We can only stay open if we stay safe.”

Of the state’s nearly 17,900 COVID-19 cases logged from early March through Sunday, more than one-third — 37 percent — have come in just the last two weeks, since June 15. The state’s cumulative positive test rate has risen from 5.2 to 6.6 percent during the same period; its positive rate over the last seven days is more than twice that, at 15.7 percent. Confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen 74 percent, from 214 to 373.

Also covered in the new directive:

— DMV records, such as licenses and registrations, that expire between March 12, when the state of emergency was declared, and July 15 will remain valid through September 13.

— Courts may keep transitioning to normal operations and reopening to the public by allowing some collections actions to resume and lifting the freeze on statutes of limitations.

— Businesses that have not paid license renewal fees since the March 12 start of emergency will have a grace period through September 30 to pay without penalties.

— Public bodies may continue to conduct business remotely and provide alternate ways for boards, commissions, and agencies to allow public participation.

The governor cautioned that he “will not hesitate to take any action necessary to protect the public and prevent exceeding our hospital capacity, including reinstituting previous restrictions.”

Governors in Texas and Florida rolled back some of the business reopenings in those states in light of the surge in new coronavirus cases.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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