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Virus upends long-standing traditions as group gatherings discouraged

Updated March 18, 2020 - 4:11 pm

In the past week, the threat of COVID-19 has swept the nation, including Boulder City, bringing with it unprecedented closures, cancellations and postponements.

One of those canceled events is the town’s long-standing Easter sunrise service at Hemenway Valley Park. The Boulder City Interfaith Lay Council sponsors the free yearly service that is open to all and features prayer, Scripture readings and a meditation.

“This wasn’t a decision made out of fear. … It was the responsible thing to do,” said Kathy Whitman, an organizer for the event.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. It has symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Recently, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 sparked a global pandemic. So far there have been 42 reported COVID-19 cases in Clark County, including one death.

Whitman said more than 400 people normally attend the service, and with the virus spreading mainly through person-to-person contact, it was the right thing to cancel the service.

“It’s being responsible and loving our people,” she said.

On Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered that all casinos, restaurants, bars and other nonessential businesses statewide close for 30 days. He also encouraged Nevadans to stay home as much as possible to prevent becoming infected and spreading COVID-19.

Terry Stevens, co-owner of The World Famous Coffee Cup Cafe, said the restaurant will be closed until further notice.

“We were planning to ride it out as long as we could and be as safe as we could,” he said.

Stevens said they decided to close after Sisolak’s announcement and are giving out all the perishable food items to their 28 employees and freezing what they can.

“It’s almost like we’re prepping for a hurricane,” he added.

Stevens said all the employees will still have their jobs when the restaurant reopens.

Dining options available

Other local restaurants will be closed for dine-in customers, but will provide curbside and to-go service.

Grant Turner said both his businesses, The Tap and The Dillinger Food and Drinkery, will be providing curbside service and delivery.

“I figured there were two options, retreat or tackle the problem head on. … We’re tackling this problem,” he said.

Customers can call the restaurants to order or go to the door. Turner also said he is organizing meals that will be given out at The Forge Social House.

“There are people who need to eat,” he said. “I want them to get fed and keep our employees working. … For the next 30 days we are just banding together. We intend to get through this.”

Southwest Diner will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for curbside and to-go service.

Owner Cindy Ford said those hours could change. She also said free meals for school children are still available, but the choices may change due to food availability.

Chilly Jilly’z, Boulder Dam Brewing Co. and Boulder City Co. Store are also open for curbside and to-go service. Boulder Pit Stop is open for to-go service. BC Dam Tacos is also open and offers delivery.

Restaurants that have closed include Taco Bell, Subway, Starbucks and Little City Grille.

Closures and cancellations

The closures also affect other businesses and establishments.

Boulder City Library closed Monday, March 16, and is encouraging patrons to take advantage of its online resources. During the temporary closure, it asks that items that were checked out not be returned.

“There will be no fines due during this period,” said Samantha Bigger, head of information services.

Hoover Dam is temporarily closed to visitors, as are Nevada’s state museums, including the railroad museum, as well as the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.

Additionally, the Alan Bible Visitor Center at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the lobby at park headquarters in downtown Boulder City, entrance station fee collection operations and Black Canyon River Adventures raft trips are closed.

Prior to Sisolak’s announcement Joseph DeSimone, owner of Railroad Pass Casino, said he planned to keep the casino and hotel open and his employees working. He has not said what his plans are now that casinos must close for 30 days.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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