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November 26, 2020

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Sahara accused of violating virus social distancing protocols


Steve Marcus

An exterior view of the Sahara hotel-casino Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.

Nevada gaming officials have accused the Sahara of violating state-mandated coronavirus social distancing guidelines.

In a two-count complaint filed Monday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board cited three instances on June 16 of people standing too close to a slot machine, craps table and blackjack table while watching other patrons play.

The board also cited a luncheon put on by an unnamed trade organization on July 23. About 135 people attended the event in violation of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s emergency directive limiting gatherings to a maximum of 50 people, the complaint said.

The violations could result in fines, though the complaint did not list specific penalties.

In a statement, a Sahara spokeswoman said the company “acknowledged and immediately corrected conditions related to state-mandated social distancing protocols.”

She did not say whether resort officials planned to appeal the case.

The Las Vegas Strip property is owned by businessman Alex Meruelo, who is also the majority owner of the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes.

Sisolak ordered casinos statewide closed in mid-March to help curb the spread of the virus. They were allowed to reopen starting June 4 under safety guidelines including reduced occupancy and, later, mandatory face coverings for guests and employees.