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State officials: Rural counties cannot stop following COVID-19 restrictions

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak listens to a reporter's question in his office in Carson City, Nev.,...
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak listens to a reporter's question in his office in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, after signing an executive order creating a task force to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, as Attorney General Aaron Ford looks on. S(AP Photo/Scott Sonner)(Scott Sonner | AP)
Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 7:51 PM PST
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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -Four rural Nevada counties have taken action to defy Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 directives, prompting a joint response from Sisolak and Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford criticizing the actions.

Lyon County was the latest, on Wednesday passing a resolution declaring an economic emergency.

“The State’s one size fits all Covid-19 restrictions are ineffective and overly burdensome to the residents and businesses in rural counties,” Lyon County Manager Jeff Page said in a statement Thursday. “The Covid-19 restrictions currently in place may make sense in the more densely populated areas of the state. In adopting this Resolution, the Lyon County Board of County Commissioners unanimously spoke against the state’s current statewide restriction policies.”

White Pine, Elko and Eureka counties have also passed resolutions against the state restrictions.

The statement from Sisolak ad Ford called the actions counterproductive and confusing.

“Resolutions like this are mere statements and nothing more,” the statement from the state leaders said. “They have no force of law and cannot override the Governor’s Emergency Directives, which have been issued under state law and upheld in courts several times. The Attorney General has spoken with counsel of various municipalities regarding actions such as these, and each counsel has acknowledged that these resolutions have no legal effect.”

People and businesses must comply with directives, the statement from Nevada leaders said.

Page acknowledged as much in his Thursday statement, noting the Lyon County action “does not authorize businesses or private citizens to cease following emergency directives or CDC recommended practices in reference to COVID-19.”

“We are all tired of this virus,” the statement from Sisolak and Ford said. “But every day, and in rural counties, Nevadans die due to COVID-19. We look forward to continuing our efforts to work with our local elected officials as we seek to protect all Nevadans and end this pandemic.”

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