LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has announced that he has signed a directive requiring all people to wear face coverings while in public, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 25. The governor provided an update on the state's COVID-19 response and reopening plans at a press conference in Carson City on Wednesday.
"For Nevada to stay open, we must make face coverings a part of our daily lives," Sisolak said.
He added that the mandate had an enforcement element, but he did not intend it to result in fines or arrest. He said that the state would use the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, local licensing agencies and regulating authorities to help with enforcement.
"The last thing I want is for monetary fines or criminal penalties to be imposed on Nevadans, which is why I strongly encourage everyone to follow this directive," Sisolak said.
There are exceptions in the directive for people who have difficulty breathing when wearing a mask, a disability that prevents wearing one, and for children 2 to 9 years old.
The governor also clarified that Nevada would not be moving into Phase 3 until the percentage of positive COVID-19 cases stabilizes and shows a downward trajectory. The state has has a 4-week upward trend in new daily cases.
To be clear, due to the data and time needed for evaluation of contact tracing and impacts of this new face covering directive, any discussion of entering Phase 3 will be tabled. The pandemic is not over, we are still in the middle of the first wave of COVID.— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) June 25, 2020
On Tuesday, the state reported its highest single-day increase of new cases, with 462 newly reported coronavirus cases.
Sisolak also addressed criticism of photos of him not wearing a face covering while at a restaurant in Henderson.
"Unfortunately and inexcusably, I also made an error in judgement while out to dinner with my wife where I was photographed not wearing a mask. It was an error and it was inexcusable," he said. "Every hour there are photographs and videos posted of large, unmasked clusters of people."
The governor also emphasized that wearing face coverings should not be seen as a political partisan decision, but rather a medical necessity based on guidance from health officials.