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Trump rally leads to $5K in fines for violation of COVID limits

Updated October 26, 2020 - 2:12 pm

CARSON CITY — State officials issued more than $5,000 in fines to Douglas County and the company that manages the Minden-Tahoe International Airport over a campaign rally held by President Donald Trump in September that drew thousands of attendees in violation of the state’s COVID-19 gathering limits.

Nevada OSHA issued fines of $2,950 fine for Douglas County and $2,603 for ABS Aviation Inc., which manages the airport where the rally was held, the Department of Business and Industry said in a news release Monday.

Neither Douglas County officials nor ABS Aviation responded to requests for comment.

At the rally, Trump had accused Gov. Steve Sisolak of trying to stop the event from taking place. But it was Reno airport officials who had stopped the campaign from holding an event there, citing restrictions that at the time limited crowd gatherings to 50 people. A newer directive, which took effect Oct. 1, raised that gathering limit to 250 people and allows groups that want to have larger gatherings to submit a plan to the state and local authorities for approval.

According to the news release, OSHA listed the reason for the fine as “Public attendance to a live event was held without the submission of a safety plan for approval by the Division of Industrial Relations.”

This wasn’t the first time that a venue has been fined for violating Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions while hosting a pro-Trump event.

In August, the state issued nearly $11,000 in fines to Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas after the venue hosted an Evangelicals for Trump campaign event and the Miss Nevada Pageant that month.

The Department of Business and Industry noted in its fine for Ahern that some 700 people attended the campaign event, with people “observed within arm’s reach of other guests.”

The hotel sued the state over the fines, claiming “disparate treatment” of Ahern because the company believed it was not subject to the 50-person limit on gatherings.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviejwournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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