Davey Francis mixes drinks at Velveteen Rabbit, a cocktail bar in the Las Vegas Arts District, on the last night before they will have to close Friday, July 10, 2020, in Las Vegas. Bars in seven Nevada counties were ordered Friday to once again shut their doors and reimpose limits on restaurants because of the coronavirus.
(The Center Square) – The state of Nevada and Gov. Steve Sisolak are the defendants in a lawsuit challenging the governor’s recent bar closure order that seeks to stem a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the state.
A few dozen bars in the Las Vegas-area have filed the suit with the 8th Judicial District Court seeking to invalidate the order that temporarily shutters bars in seven counties. The order mandates bars to temporarily cease in-person service, but allows them to remain open for curbside and delivery services.
“We know that COVID-19 can easily spread when people are congregating for long periods of time, like inside a bar,” Gov. Sisolak said when the temporary closure order was announced. “In states where we have seen significant spikes, such as Arizona, Texas, and Florida, they have all taken actions to roll back bars.”
The lawsuit says the order causes “the disparate treatment of bars and taverns” that’s “unreasonable because there is no rational basis for treating bars and taverns differently than other, similarly situated, nonessential businesses.”
“Notably, it does not close home improvement stores, water parks, casino floors, or casino pools, or other businesses found to have similar compliance issues,” the lawsuit notes.
By design, Sisolak ordered counties, including Clark County, to meet new criteria to show greater efforts to mitigate elevated disease transmission, which shuts down bars under the order.
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, the criteria for reopening should involve an average number of tests conducted per day and a standard overall lower test positivity rate.
Counties will be reevaluated for a possible reopening order on July 24, which serves at the discretion of the health department.
Sisolak’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.