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Nevada fines Ahern Hotel $11k for coronavirus violations

The Las Vegas hotel that hosted a Trump campaign event and beauty pageant with hundreds of guests this month was hit with a nearly $11,000 fine this week for failing to follow the state’s COVID-19 safety and health measures.

Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a $10,930 fine to Ahern Hotel Wednesday, citing four violations of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 directives stemming from the hotel hosting an “Evangelicals for Trump” campaign event on Aug.6 and the Miss Nevada pageant three days later.

According to the Department of Business and Industry, about 700 guests attended the campaign event and 200 attended the pageant in the hotel’s main event center, with people in both cases “observed within arm’s reach of other guests.”

Sisolak’s directive prohibits public or private gatherings of more than 50 people, and the city of Las Vegas had previously fined the hotel $250 for the campaign event violating those restrictions.

The campaign event drew a sharp rebuke from Sisolak the day after it was held, with the governor saying that he was “deeply disheartened and dismayed to see the callous and dangerous behavior displayed last night in Las Vegas at a campaign event for President Trump.”

But the hotel has maintained that that it and other hotels and convention centers shouldn’t be limited by the gathering limit, and this week filed a lawsuit challenging the governor’s directive in court.

The hotel said that hotels and convention centers should fall under the same restrictions as retail businesses and restaurants, which are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. Both events held at Ahern Hotel would have been below 50 percent of its event center’s 1,600 person capacity.

Attorneys representing Ahern in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to request for comment Thursday.

Staff writer Shea Johnson contributed to this report. Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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