LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Clark County Commission held an emergency meeting Friday night about the COVID-19 response, and on Saturday, police began to enforce the closure of nonessential businesses.
The County met March 20 to pass a vote on measures to enforce Gov. Steve Sisolak's Declaration of Emergency directive, making it mandatory for all nonessential businesses in Nevada to close.
Commissioners unanimously approved the emergency ordinance allowing enforcement and penalties against nonessential businesses that don't abide by the order to shut down.
Under the ordinance, the County allows the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to enforce the directive.
Prior to the meeting, Las Vegas police had the authority to close down a business for eight hours for not complying. The change to the ordinance on Friday night makes it so Metro can cite the business owners for a misdemeanor charge or fine up to $1,000 per day.
Violation of an emergency order, directive, or regulation of the Governor, Board of Commissioners, Sheriff, or County Manager during the effective dates of a declared state of emergency is an unsafe business practice which is injurious to the public health, safety, or welfare and is punishable by suspension or revocation of a business license, by imposition of an administrative penalty of up to $1000 per violation per day, or as a criminal misdemeanor.
Read the full ordinance here.
Ideally, a Metro lieutenant at the meeting said he hoped "responsible" businesses would comply after just a conversation.
On Saturday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said officers began compliance checks of businesses that remained open in violation of the order.
The department's Special Investigations Section is overseeing the effort. Officers are being dispatched through the non-emergency 3-1-1 line or emails to LVMPD.
Business owners are given a copy of the directive, police said, and a letter from investigators saying they are in violation. The owner must sign the letter as proof of notification and officers stand by while the business is closed.
According to Metro Police, owners can make an appeal to the city of county business license. The officers are in plain clothes but identifiable as police through badges and other equipment, according to Metro Police.
Commissioner Justin Jones said all marijuana dispensaries will be closed and open only for deliveries. Alcoholics Anonymous groups were also allowed to meet in groups under 10 and while practicing social distancing.
Dispensaries in Clark County sent notifications to customers to get to their establishment before midnight.
The move shocked management of Shango, who said they limited entry into the establishment to 10 customers and asked people to order online.
The details of what was considered essential versus nonessential were details in a statement of emergency from the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
Sisolak's directive goes into effect at midnight Friday at midnight through April 16.
The Clark County ordinance only applies to businesses in Clark County, not the surrounding incorporated cities.
In response to Gov. Sisolak's actions, the city of Las Vegas issued a short statement saying the city would comply:
The city of Las Vegas is in the Metro Police jurisdiction, and their officers will begin enforcement at midnight tonight. The city will look at other business license enforcement options as well over the next few days.
Mesquite also said it would comply.
In an emergency directive by the city northeast of Las Vegas, it was noted the businesses that do not comply by 11:59 p.m. on March 20, they would get a civil penalty of $200 per day for a maximum of three days.
They would also get a written notice from law enforcement of criminal prosecution upon two citations and a criminal arrest or citation.
“When the Governor issued this order today, he made it incumbent on all of us to take steps to protect our community,” said Boulder City Manager Al Noyola. “We have not only a civil responsibility to enforce the order, but also a moral obligation.”
Read Gov. Sisolak's Declaration of Emergency directive by clicking here.
Read the City of Mesquite's full response here.
TO REPORT: DO NOT CALL 9-1-1
Metro Police said open nonessential businesses in Clark County can be reported to 3-1-1, or to the county: (702) 455-3500.
To report a business that is open and should not be in Boulder City, the city said to call (702) 293-9224 or file a complaint online.
WATCH THE MEETING HERE: