Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an emergency directive today that makes it legally enforceable to close nonessential businesses in Nevada. Sisolak closed nonessential businesses — including restaurants, which were limited to takeout and delivery service only — on Tuesday to slow the spread of COVID-19, but some owners decided to remain open despite the mandate.
“I am no longer asking you to do that. I am directing all nonessential businesses to close. I repeat, if you’re not an essential business, I’m using my power as governor under an emergency declaration to order you to close,” Sisolak said in a press conference on Facebook. “This is not the time to look for loopholes.”
The new rule goes into effect at midnight and stays in place until April 16. He leaves the punishment, whether it’s a fine or revoking a business license, up to local governments to determine.
“If businesses defy this directive and stay open, state and local law enforcement will have the ability to treat this as a criminal act,” Sisolak said.
On Monday, Sisolak asked nonessential businesses including restaurants and bars to close in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Casinos, hotels, and motels as well as restaurants and bars must remain closed for a minimum of 30 days. Casinos and resorts across the city closed their doors by noon on Tuesday, and dozens of restaurants made the pivot to takeout and delivery service to remain open.
Several local businesses boldly remained open after Sisolak’s mandate went into effect on Tuesday.
Deja Vu’s Little Darlings strip club defiantly stayed open, even planning to offer XXX nude hand sanitizer wrestling this weekend and drive-thru strip shows. Director of operations Ryan Carlson tells KTNV that he considers the strip club “easily one of the safest and cleanest places to be in Las Vegas.”
Fremont Street’s Heart Attack Grill remained open, even writing a now-deleted Instagram post boasting it was open for indoor dining, spankings, and the full bar, stating “non of this whimpy ‘take out only’ crap!”
That post came after the Las Vegas City Council meeting on March 18, where Mayor Carolyn Goodman pushed back against the decision to close nonessential businesses for 30 days.
“I am painfully aware and sensitive to the very many who live paycheck to paycheck,” Goodman said. “I know we and they cannot survive any total shutdown of the economy for any length of time beyond the immediate week or two.”
Sisolak’s order comes as the number of presumptive positive tests for COVID-19 in Nevada jumped by 70 percent since Tuesday. As of this morning, the state has 109 cases. On Thursday, the Southern Nevada Health District reported 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clark County and the death of a Clark County woman in her 60s with an underlying medical condition. So far, two people, both in Clark county, died from complications of COVID-19.
Sisolak also says that unemployed workers do not have to prove they are searching for work while on unemployment benefits, and they will not have to wait seven days to receive benefits. He also opened a special enrollment period with the Silver State Health insurance exchange for Nevadans to gain access to health insurance. “If you need health insurance. Do not wait.”