Nevada Bars to Close Again Following Coronavirus Spike and ‘Excessive Non-Compliance’

Posted on: July 10, 2020, 07:43h. 

Last updated on: July 10, 2020, 12:59h.

Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak (D) has ordered all bars, pubs, and taverns in several counties that do not serve food to close in response to growing coronavirus cases in the state.

Nevada coronavirus bars close
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday that bars and taverns had largely failed to comply with health and safety regulations. (Image: Vegas Chamber)

The order, effective Friday night, includes Clark County — which encompasses Las Vegas, and Reno’s Washoe County. This means that bars inside the cities’ casino resorts will be off-limits.

Also impacted will be Nevada’s restricted gaming licensees, which are locations with fewer than 15 slot machines. These are often drinking establishments with gaming terminals embedded in the bar tops.

Many Casinos Fail Regulations 

On Thursday, Sisolak said that the measures are in response to a surge in coronavirus cases since the state began a series of phased re-openings in May. Casinos were permitted to reopen in early June.

The governor added that the rollback was not an easy decision to take or one he made lightly. It followed consultation with federal health officials in response to “excessive non-compliance” with state safety regulations, he said.

“While discussing Nevada’s data, and using other state’s data as guides, the federal representatives advised that if Nevada did not take swift policy action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout our state, we would likely soon be in a precarious condition where hospitals are overwhelmed with patients in the very near future,” Sisolak said.

State health inspectors found that fewer than half of the bars they visited were complying with safety measures designed to restrict the spread of the pandemic. For Nevada’s 2,000-odd restricted gaming licensees, these include frequent sanitization of gaming areas and equipment and correct spacing to ensure social distancing and 50 percent occupancy at all times.

Only 50 percent of bars were found to have been complying with Sisolak’s facemask mandate, issued June 24.

Breaking the Rules

The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced last week it had conducted 6,008 inspections of restricted gaming operations since June 4 –- enough to visit all licensees three times –- and opened 111 regulatory cases relating to health and safety breaches.

The regulator emphasized that non-compliance with federal, state, local laws, or health and safety policies constitute a violation of Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation 5.011.

If non-compliance is discovered during an initial visit, the licensee is issued a written warning and a follow-up observation is conducted by health inspectors. If the licensee remains in breach of regulations, they can be fined up to $134,940.

As of Friday, Nevada has reported 24,904 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 571 deaths