On Tuesday, June 2, the Nye County Commission held its first meeting with in-person public attendance since early March, when the governor declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak and issued an emergency directive banning gatherings of more than 10 people.
While the public is now permitted to head out to the commissioners’ chambers in both Tonopah and Pahrump, there are some new rules and practices by which attendees must abide.
“I’d like everyone to know that at our meeting next week on Tuesday the 2nd, we’ll be having a meeting with people here in the chambers and you’ll also be able to call in, for those who don’t want to be with people,” Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig explained during a special meeting held Friday, May 29.
“Public gatherings can be no more than 50 people while following social distancing. Board members, staff, members of the public and members of the press are included in the 50-person limit,” Koenig continued. “Public attendance will be on a first-come-first-served basis. In other words, if there are 50 people in here and you’re number 51, you’re going to have to go home.”
Temperature screenings will be conducted on all those entering the meetings and the chambers are all now marked out for social distancing, with certain chairs and rows restricted to achieve the six-foot distance requirements.
The public comment table only has one seat placed before it now and staff is tasked with cleaning the table, chair and microphone after each person completes their public comment, so that the next person speaking is not exposed to the previous speaker’s germs. Meeting attendees are directed to remain in their seats while public comment is conducted, rather than lining up as they have in the past. Anyone wanting to speak during public comment is asked to raise their hands and they will be called forward one at a time by the chairman.
Those who want to continue to phone into the meetings can do so by calling 602-610-2062 and using access code 187965. Conference call participants can notify county staff that they would like to make public comment or comment on individual items by pressing 5* on their telephone keypads. The meetings are also viewable online on the Nye County Granicus View Page.
In addition to the commission meetings being reopened for in-person attendance, other county offices are starting to allow in-person services as part of Nevada’s Phase 2 reopening plan.
The Nye County Planning and Building and Safety departments are now open to the public but with some restrictions.
“Lobby hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Office is closed on Fridays,” information on the Nye County website details. “Once you arrive, please call 775-751-4249 to let the staff know you are here. Only one person allowed in the lobby at all times for the planning counter and building department counter. All persons are required to wear a mask prior to entering the building and for the entire duration of the stay, no exceptions.”
The Nye County Recorder’s Office is also now open to the public, by appointment only. Residents needing to access the recorder’s office should call 775-751-6340 to make an appointment to come into the Pahrump office or 775-482-8116 for an appointment at the Tonopah office.
“To keep our staff safe, we ask that you use a face covering! We have provided them for your convenience. You must self-monitor for COVID-19. If you are displaying symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or fever, we ask that you come back when you are not sick,” information on the recorder’s website states.
Residents can also continue to purchase document copies online and mail in documents for recording.
The Nye County Clerk’s Office is resuming in-person services as well.
At the Pahrump clerk’s office, only one person is allowed in the lobby at a time, with the exception of couples applying for a marriage license. However, no children, relatives or guests will be permitted to enter with the person seeking service.
For the clerk’s Tonopah location, those needing service are asked to call 775-482-8127 to apply for a marriage license, file a fictitious firm name, apply for a notary or file court documents. “Someone will meet you inside the main entrance to provide the service you require,” information from the clerk’s office states. “It is helpful if you call ahead for an appointment.”
Anyone visiting either clerk’s office location is asked to use their own pen if they have one on hand, with throw-away pens available for those who do not bring one. Hand sanitizer is also provided and residents are asked to use sanitizer when entering the office. Those feeling ill or running a fever are asked to refrain from visiting any county offices.
One county office that does not have plans to reopen to the public at this time is the Nye County Treasurer’s Office.
Nye County Treasurer John Prudhont has gone before the commission to blast county management for their directive requiring that county office staff wear masks while at work, a directive he and his staff have flatly refused to follow.
Prudhont said he had done research online and could not find any concrete scientific basis for the face mask requirements. He also cited conflicting recommendations from the World Health Organization and the U.S. CDC, the former of which stated that masks need only be used by those caring for COVID-19 patients.
With this in mind, Prudhont told commissioners that his office would remain closed to the public until county management could provide him with “reasonable” guidelines for resuming public interaction.
All other county offices are available by phone and email. For contact information for a specific office visit www.nyecounty.net
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org