Las Vegas Bars and Taverns Allowed to Reopen With Safety Measures In Place

Posted on: September 18, 2020, 01:45h. 

Last updated on: September 18, 2020, 02:47h.

After a two-month COVID-19 lockdown, bars and taverns in Las Vegas can reopen just before midnight on Sunday, Sept. 20. This includes bars in casinos.

Steve Sisolak
In July, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered bars and taverns that don’t serve food to close. A COVID-19 task force has voted to let these places open again this month. (Image: KOLO-TV)

The state COVID-19 Task Force voted this week to allow bars, taverns, breweries, and distilleries in Clark and Elko counties to reopen “no sooner” than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. Las Vegas is in Clark County. Elko County is in northeastern Nevada.

This means bars and taverns that don’t serve food can open again. Those that serve food and have been operating for months can reopen their bar tops.

Las Vegas attorney Dennis Kennedy told the lengthy closures were difficult financially for bar and tavern owners. Kennedy represented more than 60 Clark County owners in a lawsuit this summer to keep bars and taverns open. The lawsuit was dismissed.

“Most places can’t stand being closed two months,” he told

With COVID-19 rates spiking in mid-March, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) directed casinos and many other businesses to close. In late May, the governor implemented a phased reopening plan. He allowed some businesses, including bars and taverns, to reopen. Sisolak permitted casinos to begin operating again June 4.

However, he ordered bars and taverns that don’t serve food to close again on July 10. He also ordered bar tops closed in places that serve food. The governor said the coronavirus can spread in establishments where people congregate “for long periods of time, like inside a bar.”

Safety Measures

Randy Miller, who owns 11 bars and taverns in the Las Vegas Valley, told there was nothing to indicate bars and taverns were especially a problem in spreading the virus.

We don’t know why we were lumped into a category by ourselves, with no evidence or science saying we were more dangerous than other businesses,” he said.

By definition, a tavern is a standalone operation, Kennedy told A bar can be inside businesses such as casinos, bowling alleys, and restaurants.

Under the governor’s July directive, bars and taverns that serve food were allowed to remain open with safety mandates in place. These mandates included permitting only six or fewer customers at a dining table.

Even though they could remain open, bars and taverns that serve food could not allow customers at the bar. That meant customers could play standalone video gaming machines, but not video machines embedded in the bar tops.

The task force vote this week allows bar tops to be reopened if social distancing and other safety directives are followed.

Bars Open for Raiders Game

Kennedy told bars and taverns should have been allowed to open this Saturday to take advantage of fan interest in Sunday’s NFL games.

However, he noted that by being able to open late Sunday, these places can be ready in time to host patrons interested in the Las Vegas Raiders home opener on television Monday night. The 1-0 Raiders are facing the 1-0 New Orleans Saints in Southern Nevada’s new Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the Raiders’ first game in the $1.9 billion domed stadium since moving from Oakland at the end of last season.

While some NFL teams are allowing a limited number of fans to attend games, spectators are not permitted in Allegiant Stadium for Raiders games this season because of COVID-19 concerns.