Bars and Taverns in Nevada Could Soon Reopen

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has closed any slot machine establishments that do not serve food, but that decision has been challenged. The properties have filed a lawsuit against the governor, and a final decision is expected this week.

There are more than 60 of these establishments in the southern part of the state. These properties have seen an economic decline during the shutdown. The lawsuit was officially filed on July 12, but a decision was not reached more than a month later.

Dennis Kennedy is the attorney that filed the lawsuit against Sisolak on behalf of these bars and taverns. In Nevada, the terms tavern and bar are used to distinguish the two establishments. Taverns are standalone operations, and bars are found within other businesses.

Those bars and taverns that serve food have been able to reopen in Nevada, but there have been restrictions placed on these establishments as well. In Nevada, seven counties had limitations on them on July 9, as they all saw a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas, is one of the counties with the restrictions imposed. Casinos have been able to reopen for more than two months in Nevada, but they have also been forced to implement several health and safety protocols.

Courts Will Make Final Ruling

Clark County District Judge Kerry Earley is presiding over this case, and Kennedy presented his evidence on August 13. A decision was not reached on August 13, but Kennedy was hopeful that the court would make a ruling this week.

Kennedy is arguing that the restrictions against bars and taverns are unfair and alleges that the governor has targeted them. The attorney believes that these establishments should reopen as long as they implement new health and safety protocols.

Randy Miller is one of the bar owners that has been affected by the recent shutdown. Miller and his business partners own and operate 11 of these establishments in the Las Vegas Valley, and he claims that the bar industry in the state has been compliant during the entire pandemic.

Bars BreedingGround For COVID-19

Sisolak had sound reasoning when imposing these restrictions on July 9, and several other states around the country have done the same thing. Sisolak noted that the virus could spread amongst people congregating in an inside setting for long periods.

Arizona, Florida, and Texas have imposed similar restrictions, and all four states are also trendy tourist destinations. Even though the tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, bars and taverns remain a popular place to gather.

Miller noted that bar owners in the state spent thousands of dollars to comply with the health and safety protocols during the pandemic. Now the properties are not able to generate any revenue. Miller also noted that his properties don’t have a high volume of customers, and social distancing could be practiced inside the facilities.

Bars and taverns did get some good news earlier last week when the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the use of standalone slot machines in taverns and bars. These slot machines can start to be set up, but the bars and taverns that don’t serve food will not be able to turn them on.

All of the slot machines must be placed at least six feet apart, and they must be disinfected after each use. Bars and taverns are also highly encouraged to put barriers or partitions between the machines.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.