By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray

An Emergency Special Joint Commission meeting and Board of Public Health Meeting was held November 23, 2020.

The meeting was held after Gov. Steve Sisolak placed additional restrictions on the size of allowed gath- erings and occupancy in restaurants, bars, gyms, casino establishments and other venues that provide entertainment.

One agenda item that had several elected officials, and appointed of- ficials heated was a resolution. The agenda item was to approve Resolution 2020-76 declaring a State of Economic Emergency due to COVID-19 state mandated regulations and orders, and issuing certain local orders pertaining on a temporary basis.

The resolution would have notified all government agencies that they would not be permitted to issue fines or warnings related to COVID-19, or any directives given by the Governor of the State of Nevada nor by local officials, elected or otherwise within the City of Ely or White Pine County. Governmental agencies listed included the health department, OSHA, Nevada Gaming Control Board and the City of Ely just to name a few.

County Commissioner Travis Godon explained that District Attorney Mike Wheable, Commissioner Ian Bullis and himself had worked on this resolution and came up with it in a short amount of time.

“I think we have to do the best with what we got,” Godon said. “With these new regulations, Ely is going to look like a boarded up who knows what.”
Bullis expressed his continued frustration with Sisolak, citing a question that was asked by a reporter during Sisolak’s news conference on how a restaurant was supposed to operate at 25 percent capacity.

“His response was well, I think they ought to be able to make it,” Bullis said. “ And I just though economics don’t rise and fall on the opinion of the Governor.”
Chairman of the Commission Richard Howe said, “This particular action isn’t devastating, it’s catastrophic. It totally wiped out any operation or any ability to stay alive. When you got to a 75 percent reduction of business people are going to be laid off and business are going to fail.”

When White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod was asked for his input on it, while he agreed on the philosophy that one size does not fit all, he stated he was very disappointed of the Governor’s recent directive, he couldn’t support the resolution.
Henriod said, “We need to look at this and come up with better ideas.”

Darren Kunz, the Public Health Officer, was not in accordance with the proposed resolution either. Cases had escalated after the Halloween weekend, and with Thanksgiving, it was feared that White Pine County could see yet another rise of cases.

“We know we’ve have our second death in the county,” he said. “As I told you in the last meeting, there was a Halloween party that was way over capacity. In the contact tracing of these people, one of them had a grandmother who is on life support outside of our county.”

Kunz stated his frustration over the proposed resolution stating if it was passed he would resign.

After much discussion the com-mission voted to table the resolution.  The resolution is back on the agenda and will be discussed at this weeks commission meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 9:00 am.