Businesses react to Gov. Sisolak’s new COVID-19 response plan

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Governor Steve Sisolak is warning Nevada businesses if you do not follow the rules to help stop the spread of COVID-19, you will be punished.

Sisolak announced a new approach to reopening Nevada at a Monday evening press conference. 

The Governor plans to move away from the Phased reopening approach, saying his new plan is a stronger, long-term solution. 

Coronavirus numbers are showing some improvement, and Sisolak hopes sharing that data more frequently, updating criteria and increasing enforcement will help businesses better prepare for any changes. 

Businesses that spoke to 8 News Now are hoping for the best.

“Our business has been at a standstill,” said Michelle Johnson, a Las Vegas performer and the CEO of Diva Las Vegas Productions and Traver Concert Services.

Johnson’s company provides sound equipment and instruments to touring acts. She has been waiting since mid-March to get back to work, as COVID-19 prevented any concerts from happening.

“We just want some really good guidance,” Johnson said.

Public gatherings, like concerts, were part of Phase 3 under Sisolak’s initial reopening plan. But now that the Governor’s new plan is getting rid of phases, Johnson wants to see some more consistency.

“I don’t understand why you can go to a crowded casino and take your mask on and off at will, because it’s hard to monitor that, and yet as a theater person or a concert-driven business, you can’t do the same,” Johnson said.

Sisolak did not mince words while providing an update on Nevada’s COVID-19 situation.

“No more excuses,” he said. “If people aren’t following the rules to keep us safe, there needs to be consequences.”

The Governor said a huge part of his plan is more target enforcement on those not following the mask mandate or social distancing protocols. The goal is to do it based on zip codes and on individual businesses, not industries as a whole.

“I’m tired of education. I’m tired of ambassadors that deal with this stuff. I’m tired of information officers,” Sisolak said. “I need enforcement officers that are going to go out and punish the bad guys and not punish the good guys.”

Ron Aronsohn, owner of Blue Ox Tavern in Las Vegas, says he is following the rules. Although the bar top has been forced to shut down for now, Aronsohn agrees with Sisolak’s new idea.

“I’m just trying to stay in business,” Aronsohn said. “Let’s all get on the same train, on the same page, and do the things we need to do so that the businesses that are complying can stay open and operate.”

Sisolak says bars that do not serve food and bar tops in Clark, Elko, Nye and Washoe counties will remain closed for the next week.

Johnson says entertainers always get others through tough times, and she wants to see the same from the State of Nevada.

“Now, it’s time to help us,” Johnson said. “Because we really need it right now.”

Sisolak has also formed a new advisory group to finalize and implement his long-term strategy. He says he will provide more details about the plan next Monday. He also says he will sign a new directive by July 31.

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