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Nevada joins Western regional pact to fight coronavirus with science over politics

The states of Nevada and Colorado joined a Western regional pact Monday to help fight the coronavirus outbreak while moving closer to reopening businesses and modifying stay-at-home orders.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak resisted joining a West Coast pact earlier this month with California, Oregon and Washington, saying he intended to base any decisions about relaxing pandemic-related restrictions on the advice of his state’s medical experts.

Sisolak and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday the five-state Western States Pact had a shared vision that put science ahead of politics. The Nevada Democrat said state leaders intended to exchange critical information about how to mitigate the outbreak and reopen businesses “responsibly.”

“Millions of visitors from our fellow Western states travel to Nevada every year as a premier destination,” Sisolak said, “and this partnership will be vital to our immediate recovery and long-term economic comeback.”

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State health officials have reported nearly 4,700 Nevada residents have tested positive for the COVID-19 respiratory illness, and at least 206 have died.

Most people with the virus experience symptoms such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Also Monday, Las Vegas returned to the wedding business nearly six weeks after the Marriage License Bureau was closed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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County officials said the move was expected to aid in the resolution of a lawsuit filed last week by the owner of several wedding chapels in Las Vegas and two people who wanted to get married. The lawsuit said denying the issuance of licenses required to make a marriage valid under state law in Nevada was a constitutional violation of religious freedom.

Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya said staff members at the marriage license office at the downtown Regional Justice Center had masks, gloves and no-touch thermometers, and couples need to complete license applications online before arriving.

The March 17 closure due to the outbreak brought weddings to a virtual halt in a city that casts itself as a top destination for tying the knot.


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