LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — If you bought food from a street vendor in Clark County recently, they were technically operating illegally while this version of the American Dream still awaits regulation from each specific Las Vegas Valley jurisdiction.
In August, 36-year-old Jose Hernandez Perez was selling aguas frescas near the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign before resisting arrest by a metro officer. Perez was captured on police body camera footage pushing the officer to the floor after the officer attempted to detain him. The officer, once back up, pointed his taser at Perez before arresting him.
This came not even a month after Republican Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed SB 92 – created and passed by the Nevada legislature months prior – and said vendors were open for business. Perez, after being released on bail, faced deportation when detained by ICE. He has since been released from custody and is awaiting a January court date.
Street vendors like Perez were operating under the impression that it was allowed per the bill’s signage. However, SB 92 simply requires each jurisdiction in Clark and Washoe Counties to create its own rules to license vendors.
At the rate that’s happening across the Vegas Valley, it could be a year or more before purchasing aguas frescas, hot dogs, or fruit under a colorful umbrella is considered lawful in Clark County.
Clark County Commissioners unanimously passed a prohibition of street vending within 1,500 feet of resort hotels, event and convention facilities, and highway medians in early October, as required by SB 92. Notably, that blocks off the resort corridor, Allegiant Stadium, and the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign to street vending.
“We know that congestion can create opportunities for crime. It creates challenges for people who have limited mobility. And of course, it makes it very difficult for public first responders to respond,” Virginia Valentins, Nevada Resorts Association CEO and President, said to the board before the ordinance passage on October 3. “Sidewalks, remember, are designed for pedestrian activity. They are not designed for commercial activity, nor are they sized for commercial activity.”
Now, other jurisdictions must follow suit to determine where, when, and how street vendors can operate.
Clark County is creating a second ordinance – intended to be introduced and passed in January – that would outline how many days a week street vending would be allowed, how far vendors would need to be placed from ADA-accessible sidewalk entrances, how often within a shift they would need to relocate, and if a landlord could provide permission to operate within a commercial location.
Both the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson tell 8 News Now that they expect to pass their first ordinances by the end of this year, while North Las Vegas did not provide a timeline of when they would introduce and pass theirs.
In total, a vendor would need three licenses: one from the state, one from the jurisdiction they’re operating in, and one from the Southern Nevada Health District. However, the health district has until the end of 2025 to adopt its new rules for licensing, as required in SB 92.
Joanna Jacob, the government affairs manager for Clark County, said street vending has always been against county code.
“Generally, Clark County policy is that there are no businesses allowed on our resort corridor,” Jacob said inside the county government building Thursday morning. “We heard concerns from sidewalk vendors, that there was no path towards licensure.”
Jacob is now urging those in the Vegas Valley to submit input for the second ordinance, that will define where, when, and how street vendors can operate. A survey for both the public and vendors themselves can be found on their website, or comments can be emailed to BLSidewalkVendor@clarkcountynv.gov.
“We expect that there’s going to be some, though, for vendors to come into compliance,” Jacob said.
The City of Las Vegas also has virtual and in-person informational sessions on its ordinance-in-the-works. Those sessions can be found on the city’s website.