LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On a typical night before the pandemic, Buck's Tavern on Nellis and Washington boulevards would be packed with people. However, that is not the case currently.
"Well, I have no customers," Kim Kelsey said Thursday night.
Kelsey said since Gov. Steve Sisolak reverted Clark County bars and taverns back to Phase 1 six weeks ago, her revenue has dropped significantly.
"It's devastating. I've been here 36 years and it's hard even to pay the bills now. After 36 years. Can you believe that?" she said, adding that without revenue from bar top games, which she still has to pay $10,000 a month for licensing, she's losing some $50,000 a month.
Kelsey said she's also spent in the tens of thousands just to keep her tavern operating under the current restrictions.
"Not a mark in my gaming record. Not a mark in my liquor record. Not a mark in anything. People like myself who have an impeccable record and have been at the same location for this long should be rewarded and they should allow me to open up," she said.
Bars and taverns across Las Vegas must remain closed for now after the COVID-19 task force voted to keep the current restrictions in place for at least another couple weeks. The task force cited case numbers and a lack of collaboration between the county and local officials as reasons not to allow the reopenings.
Mark Steele of the Restaurant Hospitality Institute says many bar owners are in the same boat as Kelsey and feel singled out.
"If they are compliant, it's kind of like, where's the disconnect?" he said. "It doesn't seem like they're giving much advice or guidance but they're saying, 'hey, even though you scored high on these compliance ratings, it's time for us to close up and you are the ones that apparently can't handle it."
For now, Kelsey said her beloved Buck's Tavern is surviving because of the generosity of its regulars.
"They come in every day and they make their donation. They come in and they eat, you have to eat and then they drink and they keep us open," she said.