LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Governor Steve Sisolak's COVID-19 State of Emergency cleared the way for pandemic mitigation measures ranging from the closure of all non-essential business to a years-long statewide mask mandate changing daily life for most with a single directive from the governor's office.
Sisolak announced that the State of Emergency would end on May 20 on Friday.
Salesman Brandon Richards was excited by the news.
"Honestly, It's about time," he said. "It was really hard when everything was closed down. I came from the printer industry, and it was very difficult because all the businesses were closed so nobody really to sell to."
Sisolak's decision to end the State of Emergency will return power to regulate public health decrees from the executive branch to the State Legislature limiting the state's ability to quickly respond to pandemic developments.
The State of Emergency will be lifted as a new sub-variant of Omicron, a variant of the coronavirus, began causing an increase in cases in Southern Nevada according to UNLV's wastewater testing program.
"This is something that we've been seeing in April where there has been an increase in viral material in the wastewater," said director Edwin Oh.
Oh said a slower state response to COVID changes wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, however.
He said, even though their early warning system didn't work as well on the new variant as others, he believes UNLV and the Southern Nevada Health District have developed quick response systems to identify and address new threats without the need for state mandates authorized under a State of Emergency.
"It's an attempt, it's a push, for moving ahead, moving away from where we were," Oh said, "that state of panic and paralysis. So, for those reasons, I'm fully supportive of that idea."