CARSON CITY (KLAS) — Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued an emergency directive during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, making masks mandatory in public spaces. The directive takes effect Thursday, June 25 at 11:59, although Governor Sisolak mentioned it is “effective Friday.”
People excluded from the directive include:
- those with medical conditions that make it difficult to breathe
- those with a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering
- young children between the ages of two and nine
Opening his press conference, Governor Sisolak cited a recent steady rise in COVID-19 cases across the state, saying we are currently seeing a four-week upward trend in cases. He also mentioned confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations are going up in Nevada.
Sisolak says patients requiring to be admitted to the ICU, or on ventilators are not rising at a troubling rate, but there are currently 439 active COVID-19 cases in hospitals at last check.
While Nevada is currently in Phase 2 of reopening, Governor Sisolak said the state is nowhere near the requirements needed to progress into Phase 3. Any discussion of entering Phase 3 is “tabled” according to Sisolak.
WATCH BELOW: Locals & tourists react to mask mandate
“I’m proud of the work Nevadans have completed thus far in helping us flatten the curve, but our work is far from over” said Governor Sisolak. “Today’s directive is our opportunity to limit our risk for exposure and infection, and to keep our businesses open and our economy moving. For Nevada to stay safe and stay open, we must make face coverings a routine part of our daily life.”
In regards to what kind of face coverings will be needed, Governor Sisolak said homemade face coverings are fine. He made a point that Nevadans do not need N95 masks.
Sisolak said he is confident the state will recover if we are all responsible or if a treatment comes out. Sisolak also cited a study, that helped lead to today’s directive to require masks for all Nevadans.
“One study highlighted by my Medical Advisory Team showed that replacing our strict lockdown with social distancing alone, without universal masking, results in an unchecked spread, with potentially devastating results. It showed that when at least 80% of a population adopts universal masking, it results in a substantial reduction of infection,” Sisolak said. “On the other hand, masking at only 50% of a population is not sufficient to prevent continued spread.
Sisolak also addressed a large budget shortfall for the upcoming 2021 budget. The current projected shortfall for next year’s budget is $1.27 billion, or 25% of the state’s annual operating revenue. Sisolak stressed that this is not a “normal recession” and that “tough decisions had to be made to save lives.”
Again, the directive takes effect Thursday at 11:59 p.m. There are not criminal or civil penalties for those who do not comply, but Sisolak is encouraging everyone to wear a mask.
“I hope we would not get to the point where we have a police officer walking around with a ticket book,” Governor Sisolak said in regards to enforcement of his latest directive.