LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada Assembly Republicans penned a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak Wednesday, urging him to avoid a second wave of shutdowns amid surging COVID-19 cases.
The Assembly Republican Caucus, comprised of 15 assembly members, said a second shutdown would have significant negative impacts on small businesses that have yet to fully recover from the first shutdown in March.
"As states around the country continue to impose tighter COVID-19 restrictions, it is not in Nevada’s interests to simply blindly follow suit," the letter states.
The letter also notes that Gov. Sisolak faces a difficult task ahead, but urges balance between economic livelihood and the safety of Nevadans.
During a COVID-19 task force press call Wednesday, Gov. Sisolak said his office was evaluating mitigation factors as cases and hospitalizations surge in the state.
"To be blunt, our state is surging and continues to surge. I'm incredibly concerned about the severity of COVID-19 in our state, as demonstrated in increased numbers," Sisolak said. "My administration is currently exploring all mitigation options available to get this under control."
The letter reads:
Dear Governor Sisolak:
We are writing to you on behalf of the State of Nevada to implore you to refrain from shutting down Nevada’s businesses once more. As states around the country continue to impose tighter COVID-19 restrictions, it is not in Nevada’s interests to simply blindly follow suit.
Nevada is the 9th most diverse state in America. With consideration of population, economic, and cultural diversity, a blanket approach to COVID-19 restrictions will negatively impact vulnerable populations across Nevada. A recent study found that 60% of business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic are permanent. Stricter restrictions will once again lead to declining sales and revenue for local businesses and an increase in unemployment – our state simply cannot afford this.
The first round of blanket restrictions in the spring had a devastating impact on Nevada’s infrastructure, and this continues to be felt to this day. DETR’s UI system was inefficient and insecure; as a result, between 133,748 and 185,484 fraudulent jobless claims were filed, which cost taxpayers in the state millions of dollars. In turn, this loss of state revenue forced the Legislature to make deep cuts to healthcare and education – whereas, public employees were spared any significant sacrifice while millions of private sector employees lost their jobs.
A new blanket government shutdown threatens the livelihood of many Nevadans who are still trying to recover from the first mandatory shutdown. Nonetheless, Assembly Republicans have remained focused on helping Nevadans through this time of crisis. If we want our state to recover and to make a comeback, we must focus on keeping Nevada open for business in a safe and responsible manner.
Recently, both Moderna and Pfizer announced vaccines that have shown to have over a 90% rate of effectiveness. Once approved by the FDA, these vaccines could be made available to the public by early next year. With promising vaccines on the horizon, Nevada’s leaders should make it a top priority to protect Nevada businesses, protect the owners of those businesses, and protect the many citizens that work in Nevada so that we can give our state the best opportunity at the comeback that it deserves.
We fully appreciate the severity of the situation and we recognize the difficulty of your job as you try to balance the safety of Nevadans along with its economic welfare.
Nonetheless, the wellbeing of Nevada and its people depends on a balanced approach to move forward.
Thank you for your consideration.