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Bar owners plan to file lawsuit against state, feel 'singled out'

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 21:53:05-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Since Governor Sisolak ordered bars in several counties across the state to revert back to many Phase 1 guidelines, some 50 tavern owners are coming together to file a lawsuit against the state.

"It is going to devastate our future, but we will come back stronger," said Amy Vandermark, Marketing Manager for Distill and Remedy bars, which have 11 locations in Las Vegas and Henderson.

Vandermark said by ordering the shutdown of bar tops, businesses also lose out on gaming built into the bars.

"We really feel like there's a target on us," she said. "We see that casinos are still having the ability to be open and function and we feel we did everything we were asked to do and we're trying to figure out why we're being targeted."

Vandermark said the team at Distill and Remedy has worked diligently since the beginning of the pandemic to follow all CDC and local guidelines. Vandermark said she wishes there could've been a conversation with businesses before just reverting back to Phase 1 restrictions, which Governor Sisolak said were recommended to him by federal officials concerned about Nevada's COVID-19 trends.

"What could we have done to limit occupancy at the bar top," she asked. "What further actions could we do to maintain social distancing and enhanced cleaning and everyone's safety while still allowing your local bar to operate like a local bar."

Roger Sachs, owner of Steiner's Pub's three locations in Vegas, said while it's great to be able to have their restaurants open, taverns operate on a different model, with lower price points on food and drink.

"It's hard for us to be able to make money even at the 50% level, what we need is our bar tops open and our games to be able to be played," he said.

Sachs said 50% of Steiner's revenue comes from gaming. He said at many bars, gaming can be as much as 80%.

As for those locals who love their local bar, well, they're disappointed too. Jose says he's doing everything right and he feels the bar is too.

"When I first walk in, of course I wear a mask. I feel very safe in here. I see them sanitize all the time but I always have my hand sanitizer and I make sure everyone else is doing their part too," he said.

The bar owners are not sure exactly when this lawsuit will be filed. They are working with a law firm to get it drafted.