Task Force allows bar tops to reopen

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Las Vegas and Clark County casinos and pubs can reopen their bar tops at 11:59 p.m. Sunday after the Nevada COVID-19 Mitigation & Management Task Force granted the approval during a Thursday meeting. 

The move paves the way for bars and taverns who didn’t serve food to reopen and those who did and remained open to reopen their bartop gaming. In July, many bars either closed or reduced hours after Gov. Steve Sisolak resumed restrictions on bars because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. The state later permitted bars to operate stand-alone gaming devices on their floors. 

Las Vegas attorney Dennis Kennedy who represented bar owners in a July lawsuit against Sisolak that was later dismissed, called the decision a relief for taverns. 

“Everybody is extremely happy and trying to get back to business as soon as they can,” Kennedy said. 

“The shutdown had hurt them horribly. There were some of them that said if they had to shut down machines in their bar and get other machines and move out to the floor that they couldn’t afford to do that.” 

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Kennedy said he’s still baffled how the governor’s office said there was evidence that bars were contributing to an increasing coronavirus caseload in Nevada at the time. The number of infection cases and hospitalizations has decreased since then. 

“It has been odd walking into Sunset Station casino and seeing all of their bars closed,” Kennedy said. “There is going to be a heck of a lot more business.” 

Kennedy is disappointed the bars won’t open Saturday night ahead of the NFL games on Sunday that will bring in a lot of additional business. The bars will be open, however, ahead of the Las Vegas Raiders’ inaugural home opener Monday night at Allegiant Stadium.

About the Author

Buck Wargo

Buck Wargo is a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times and has been based in Las Vegas as a business, real estate and gaming reporter since 2005.

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