LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Mrs. Nevada America Pageant is speaking out after they were nearly shut down by Las Vegas Police and the City of Las Vegas due to overcrowding.
The City of Las Vegas says the event was warned that the pageant would violate COVID-19 safety directives, but those involved are telling a different story.
City officials say they found the Ahern Hotel in violation of the governor’s coronavirus safety directives by holding the pageant with spectators.
Kari Deike, one of the pageant's tabulators, says they were under the impression that the show could go on.
“Our capacity is 1,600, so as long as you don’t have over 800 people it’s all great,” says Deike.
Attendees say there were 200 people gathered inside.
Police say the hotel voluntarily complied and downsized, and the show went on without an audience.
The City of Las Vegas says they tried to notify the hotel that the pageant would violate the governor’s directives, but they were told to leave.
“When she [the city worker] left, we had a very pleasant conversation, and we had no idea this was going to come down to that,” said Deike.
Deike says they were told the pageant could be at 50 percent capacity and not be capped at 50 people, which is the directive from Gov. Sisolak for large gatherings.
Deike says the pageant understands the concerns amid the pandemic, and would have adjusted if they knew there was a problem ahead of time.
“If we had known from the get go, we would have worked it some other way, whether it be virtual or something else,” says Deike. “They need to understand what pageants do for these women, they’ve worked so hard not only in the community but on themselves and they deserved that moment to shine.”