Bar owners representing 37 local businesses filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court on Sunday against the state along with Gov. Steve Sisolak that challenges his order to close bars in seven counties to contain the spread of COVID-19. The lawsuit filed by Born & Raised, Steiner’s Pub, Saddles N Spurs, Blue Ox Tavern, The Pint, The Martini, and more demands that the court rescind Sisolak’s order.
The businesses that are part of the lawsuit contend the governor singled out bars as high-risk for spreading COVID-19 with no data to support his decision.
“There is no evidence that the increase in the number of COVID-19 in Nevada cases is attributable to individuals patronizing bars and taverns,” the lawsuit contends. “There is no evidence that sitting at a bar top or at a table within the bar area increases the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 so long as the bar or tavern complies with all of the Phase Two requirements.”
Sisolak ordered all bars and taverns that do not serve food to close on July 10 in seven Nevada counties including Clark County to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cases surged in Clark County since bars were allowed to reopen on May 29. His new directive stays in effect until at least July 24, when he says he will re-evaluate. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services wants to see the seven counties perform an average of 150 tests per day per 100,000 residents; a 14-day new case rate of less than 100 per 100,000 residents; and a seven-day average of positive tests, measured after a seven-day lag, divided by the county population.
Bar owners say that while OSHA originally found that 48 percent of bars and taverns were in compliance with a new directive that everyone needed to wear a mask or face covering inside public places between June 24 and July 2, those businesses achieved 80 percent compliance when inspected on July 3. Around 1,600 business license inspections by Clark County officials cited no bars or taverns for not following facial covering guidelines from June 26 through July 10. The lawsuit contends that businesses such as water parks and home improvement stories were permitted to remain open despite o=lower rates of compliance.
“Despite overwhelming evidence that the vast majority of bars and taverns are in compliance with the reopening mandates pertaining to social distancing and face coverings, Gov. Sisolak has singled out this particular group of businesses,” the lawsuit contends.