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Behind for weeks, Las Vegas exceeds quota on business inspections

In a seven-day period preceding Thanksgiving Day, Las Vegas officials inspected more than 2,000 businesses for compliance with public health rules intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of inspections was significant: For the first time in at least six weeks, the city met its self-imposed quota.

Until then, city officials said they had faced difficulty finding the necessary staffing to visit as many establishments as they had committed to each week under a unified enforcement plan with other Southern Nevadan governments.

Although nearly 98 percent of businesses have been reported by the regional leaders as compliant with public health guidelines such as social distancing and requiring face masks, the leaders and Gov. Steve Sisolak have viewed continued local enforcement as a critical component to managing the pandemic.

The city agreed near the end of summer to inspect 1,946 businesses weekly, or 278 per day. But since October it had not visited more than 1,517 establishments in a week and reported inspecting as few as 975 businesses during one period. Meanwhile, other governments routinely meet their quotas.

However, between Nov. 18 and Tuesday, Las Vegas reported it exceeded its target and had visited 2,113 businesses, according to figures provided by a city spokesman.

In an interview this month, City Manager Jorge Cervantes said the city had reassigned city employees to assist with the effort and it understood the importance of monitoring businesses in order to ultimately stave off tighter statewide restrictions.

“It helps keep those businesses open and what we don’t want to see is, because of two or three bad actors out there that don’t want to abide, that they shut the entire industry down,” he said.

The state is in a three-week “pause,” with stricter rules in place on mask usage and permissible crowd sizes. The pause was ordered by Sisolak on Nov. 22 as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in Nevada.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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