Clark County bars and taverns sue over COVID-19 closures

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Suing the state: that is what more than 30 local bars and taverns are doing just days after being forced to close again.

Gov. Steve Sisolak directed certain bars that do not serve food to shut their doors or cover up their bar tops late last week in response to growing COVID-19 cases. 

But now, bar owners are fighting back.

Blue Ox Tavern is one of the 37 establishments listed in the lawsuit. Owner Ron Aronsohn says having to shut down his bar top again is putting a huge strain on business. So, he is hoping some legal action will help.

“We were heading in the right direction and then, ‘Boom!'” Aronsohn said.

Bars are back to square one in the midst of Nevada’s coronavirus crisis. A spike in COVID-19 cases led Sisolak to issue the order for some establishments in seven Nevada counties. 

Las Vegas’ Blue Ox Tavern was among them.

“I’m sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, and it’s like, really?” Aronsohn said.

Aronsohn says although dine in, delivery and curbside pickup are still available because they also serve food, it is not enough. A significant source of their revenue comes from gaming machines attached to the bar, which is now covered in caution tape.

“We rely on gaming to pay our bills, employ people,” Aronsohn said. “I’ve had to lay off six people, and my heart aches for them.”

Aronsohn is now taking action, joining a lawsuit that was filed on Sunday. The 37 bars and taverns listed claim Sisolak “unfairly and unlawfully single[d] them out for closure,” and that, “there is no evidence that continued operations of bars and taverns in Nevada that are compliant… with the social distancing and face covering provisions… are disproportionately contributing to the spread of COVID-19.” 

They are asking to open back up under Phase 2 guidelines.

“At least give us a stay until better data comes in,” Aronsohn said.

The plaintiffs also claim they “each are in compliance with the reopening requirements and none is currently subject to a citation for violations.” 

Aronsohn says he just wants his bar back.

“I try to do all the right things, cross the Ts, dot the Is, to follow the rules and regulations to keep my store open,” Aronsohn said.

8 News Now reached out to the Governor’s office for a statement, but they say they have no comment on the litigation.

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