On Saturday, May 9th, per Governor Sisolak’s directive regarding phased re-openings, many of our restaurants here in Ely were able to welcome customers again. The appropriate guidelines are being followed, with spacing of tables, servers wearing protective face coverings, extra cleaning procedures. Since we are a very small community, there was great rejoicing to be able to see our few dining places open again, even if in a limited way; they are a significant part of our economy.
However, this morning (Wednesday, May 13th) I went in to visit Margaritas Mexican Restaurant and found they had just been ordered to close to the public again. Right back to take out only. Needless to say, the owner was distraught, as were the employees and customers. While Margaritas is located inside the Prospector Hotel and Casino, it is not owned by them. Evidently an official from the Nevada Gaming Commission had visited earlier and informed the restaurant owner, Jorge de la Cerda, that he could not reopen since he was inside a casino; even though it was pointed out that there is a side entrance so that customers wouldn’t have to walk through the gaming area, the official still ordered Margaritas to shut down live service.
This seems to me to be a total overreach of authority. The casino itself is tiny, and all machines are off. What on earth is the problem with anyone walking through the darkened area into the spotlessly clean restaurant, especially since they are already allowed to do that for pickup orders? I am quite sure that this is not what Sisolak intended when I listened to his speech about gradual reopening. However, it seems that the Chairman of the Gaming Commission doesn’t see it that way, and prefers a cookie-cutter “one-size-fits-all” approach, even in our tiny rural White Pine County. Where, by the way, we have still had only 3 cases of Covid-19, all of whom are recovered.
Sincerely, Catherine Tousey.