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Thursday, March 26, 2020 | 6:20 p.m.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said the decision on when to reopen Nevada businesses closed amid the coronavirus pandemic will be based on medical guidance and not politics, despite President Donald Trump’s stated goal to have the country “opened up” by Easter Sunday.
“We are not basing this on hopes or emotions or politics,” Sisolak said in a video news conference today. “It will strictly be based on medical decisions, medical guidance and statistics.”
Sisolak last week ordered all casinos and other nonessential businesses in Nevada closed until April 16 — four days after Easter — in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
Since the first coronavirus case in Nevada was detected March 5, a total of 420 people have tested positive for the virus and 10 have died as a result. Most of the positive tests and all of the deaths have been in Clark County.
During a Fox News virtual town hall on Tuesday, Trump said he “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
Today, he said federal officials are developing guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread, as he aims to begin to ease nationwide guidelines meant to stem the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to the nation’s governors, Trump said the new guidelines are meant to enable state and local leaders to make “decisions about maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other measures they have put in place.” States and municipalities would still retain the authority to set whatever restrictions they deem necessary.
Shadaba Asad, the director of infectious disease at University Medical Center and a member of the governor’s medical advisory team, said the decision to reopen businesses in the state has to be evaluated on a “day-to-day, week-by-week basis.”
“I think it would be very premature at this stage to come up with a date when we can reopen everything,” Asad said.
Sisolak would not say whether he would take a next step of implementing a stricter shelter-in-place order like in some areas hardest hit by the virus. “Everything is on the table at this point,” he said.
Sisolak stressed the need for Nevadans to follow health and safety protocols, such as staying at home, social distancing and meticulous hand washing, to blunt the spread of the virus.
“If you choose to ignore these, it’s not just affecting you,” he said. “It’s affecting our entire community. It’s affecting our families, your families.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.