A month ago, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman blew up the airwaves by declaring on cable TV that casinos and businesses need to open now. And if people get sick from COVID-19, well, the city would be a good test case for reopening.
Many business leaders contacted us, and said—bad idea—but they also had ideas on things the city could do, as a government agency, to help reignite business.
Councilman Brian Knudsen was listening. He and Victoria Seamon, of the council’s Ward 2, joined us to talk about business. And when Knudsen heard some of the ideas, he said he was going to try to get the city to implement them.
And so he has.
“I’m really proud to be part of the city of Las Vegas because we did. We listened to your ideas," Knudsen said, "We listened to the ideas presented throughout the community and I think Vegas is going to come stronger and better than ever."
One of those ideas that has been implemented is allowing people to pay for their parking fines by donating school supplies. The city has also deferred sewer and licensing fees. In the medical district, the city has waived fees for certain types of taverns and opened the zoning for restaurants and bars.
Besides changing ordinances, the city has also established a grant program that offers up to $4,000 to businesses to buy personal protective equipment.
"The city of Las Vegas wants to make sure that businesses have the funds to put plexiglass barriers in, to buy gloves and masks for their employees and potentially for their customers," Knudsen said.
He said so far the city has processed 350 applications for the grants. The money is coming from the federal government's CARES Act money and through downtown Las Vegas' redevelopment agency.
Knudsen said 50 percent of the money will be going specifically to Wards 1, 3 and 5, which are the wards that cover the downtown core.
“We want to make sure our downtown thrives going into Phase 1, Phase 2 and future phases of reopening,” he said.
Knudsen said businesses should go to the Southern Nevada Health District website for a list of recommendations to open safely. He also suggested businesses print out those recommendations and display them at their business.
“If you walk into a business, you should see employees with masks and gloves. You should see regular cleansing. You should see hand sanitizer everywhere you go,” he said.
Knudsen said the city staff has been responsive to ideas and are more than willing to make changes to get the business community back on track. He even recommended people call him directly if they have ideas - 702-493-1547 or email the city.
Brian Knudsen, Councilman, City of Las Vegas
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