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Closure news spurs flurry of business at liquor stores, pot dispensaries

Liquor and marijuana were apparently essential to some people in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.

In the hours after Gov. Steve Sisolak directed all “nonessential” businesses to close, some people in the Las Vegas Valley headed to bars, liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries ahead of the directed closures of businesses including bars, casinos and gyms.

“We won’t be able to do anything but stay at home,” David Humphries, 73, said outside a Lee’s Discount Liquor on Flamingo Road. “Weed, liquor – without that, it would be crazy to stay in the house.”

By noon Wednesday, the governor said, all “nonessential” businesses have to be closed in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Essential businesses, according to the governor’s office, include grocery stores, banks, gas stations, banks and medical offices, as well as restaurants that can deliver or fill to-go orders.

A line wrapped around the Essence Cannabis Dispensary building on Tropicana Avenue and Jones Boulevard. One customer near the front of the line who declined to be identified said he had been waiting for more than two hours.

At O’Aces Bar & Grill, regulars packed the bar area as the clock ticked toward the governor’s mandated midnight shutdown of gaming devices, including the slot machines that are inside the bar.

“It’s the last hurrah,” general manager John Wiggins said. “This is like a family down here, and it’s kind of like a going-away party, or at least a see you later.”

While some pot shops and liquor stores saw people rushing in to stock up, many stores across town saw business as usual Tuesday night.

With a shopping cart full of Heineken beer, Humphries, who said he is a Vietnam veteran, said he’s never lived through anything like what Sisolak has ordered.

“You would think this would be an essential business,” he quipped about the liquor store.

Contact Dalton LaFerney at dlaferney@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0288. Follow @daltonlaferney on Twitter.

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