LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It has been three days since Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak made it mandatory for all non-essential businesses across the state to shut down. The goal is to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Now, police agencies and business license divisions across the Las Vegas Valley are enforcing that order for businesses that are defying it. There are some serious penalties for those not following the rules.
“I am using my power, as the governor under an emergency declaration to order you to close,” Gov. Sisolak said Friday, announcing that all non-essential businesses in Nevada must close.
“Henderson’s approach is three strikes and you’re out,” said Kathleen Richards, spokesperson for the City of Henderson.
The City of Henderson started compliance checks on non-essential businesses Monday afternoon. First, they give a warning. Then, a violation notice and a stop work order is issued, with a $1,000 civil penalty in total. And if that does not work, the business will be shut down and could lose its license.
“At that point, we will also bring in the police department, which could include actions such as an arrest and prosecution,” Richards said.
While no official numbers are in yet, the City of Henderson has faith in their businesses.
“It’s going to be a very small number of Henderson businesses that are not in compliance,” Richards said.
Metro Police’s Special Investigations Section is handling enforcement for the City of Las Vegas. They started this weekend.
“Violators have been cited, and some businesses have already been forced to shut down,” said Metro Capt. Jack Owen in a video released by the police department. “Don’t risk losing your business licensing by defying the shut down.”
The latest numbers from Metro Police show 113 businesses were visited. Among that, 36 warning letters, seven suspensions and four citations were served. The seven suspensions resulted in forced shutdowns. The Las Vegas City Attorney’s Office can also pursue civil or criminal complaints. The criminal complaint would be a misdemeanor for being a public nuisance.
The City of North Las Vegas officially began enforcement on Monday. An emergency directive released a few days ago outlines their procedure. That includes a $1,000 civil penalty, a written notice from police, and if all else fails, criminal arrest.
Business license and code enforcement divisions are taking this very seriously. There is even a way for valley residents to report non-essential businesses. Here is the contact information, organized by jurisdiction:
City of Las Vegas: Dial Metro’s non-emergency line at 3-1-1
City of North Las Vegas: Call North Las Vegas’ Business Licensing Division at 702-633-1520 or online.
City of Henderson: Visit the city’s online Report a Business page.