LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In a video circulating online, jazzy background music from a live band and chatter from patrons fill the space of a restaurant. Like most viral-videos, it looks to be captured on someone's cellphone.
While the first half focuses on the performers, the photographer zooms in about halfway through to show Gov. Steve Sisolak with his wife nearby enjoying a meal while the band plays.
The video, posted to Facebook and shared 1.8K times as of this writing, has prompted over 150 angry face reactions and almost 200 comments -- many of them expressing animosity.
The controversy has to do with a statewide prohibition on concerts.
Scroll through the comments and you'll see questions and accusations of hypocrisy as the governor listens to live music out in public - a concert?
But Gov. Sisolak says it's not the same thing.
In a response to the video on Monday, Sisolak said in part, that there is "no prohibition on ambient background music - like what was playing at the restaurant."
The governor's full response reads:
This weekend, Kathy and I were able to go to dinner at a local restaurant in Southern Nevada. It has come to my attention that questions have been raised over the fact that there was music being played. There is no prohibition on ambient background music, like what was playing at the restaurant - this has been allowed since the State entered Phase 2. However, there is existing prohibition in place under the statewide baseline standards for live events and performances, such as sporting events or concerts— unless they are spectator-less and receive approval.
The First Lady and I are proud to support small businesses that are going above and beyond to continue to provide services during these unprecedented times while also taking appropriate measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
This is not the first time the governor has responded to social media backlash during the pandemic.
In June, photos of him having dinner at a Henderson restaurant - posted by the restaurant thanking him for support - drew criticism when they appeared to show Gov. Sisolak without a mask.
At that time, he apologized and said his mask was briefly removed for a photograph with management and he went on to say it would "not occur again."