Unlicensed sidewalk vendors using coolers on the Las Vegas Strip will face reduced penalties as a result of a recently approved Clark County ordinance aimed at making the rule easier to enforce.
And a proposed ordinance would also ban the use of nontransparent bags, strollers and related items on the Strip during certain holidays and special events.
Coolers are already banned from the Strip, but an amendment approved by county commissioners Tuesday clarifies that ice chests are not allowed on public walkways.
The punishment for violating this rule was a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail. Under the new ordinance, which takes effect May 3, a violation will instead be a civil penalty with a similar fine but no jail time.
Chuck Callaway, director for intergovernmental affairs for the Metropolitan Police Department, said that under the current rules, people with coolers aren’t typically put in jail. He added that the new ordinance could prevent the violations from going on someone’s record and lessen the caseload on the criminal courts system.
Raheem Pearson, 34, who was selling water out of a cooler Tuesday on Las Vegas Boulevard, said people selling water shouldn’t be punished if they’re selling to make a living or if it’s for a good cause.
Assistant County Manager Jeff Wells said the amendment makes it so that people who violate these rules “don’t crowd our jail” and “don’t have a record.”
At Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, Commissioner Mary Beth Scow said the new rule makes sure “the punishment really does fit the crime.”
The proposed bag rule would prohibit potentially dangerous items during New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July. It would also prohibit them during “special events” such as running or biking races, block parties, grand openings and fireworks shows.
Callaway said he has met with local business groups, including the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the National Resorts Association, and has not received any “out-and-out opposition” so far.
Supratik Rayamajhi, 35, was walking his child in a blue stroller Tuesday. Sitting in the shade, Rayamajhi, of East Lansing, Michigan, said the ordinance could affect a lot of families.
If nontransparent strollers will be banned on certain days, he said, “an alternative needs to be provided.”
Callaway said the department is floating the idea of having a sponsor for transparent bags that would be required under the ordinance.
A public hearing on issue will beheld 10 a.m. May 17 in the commission chambers.