LAS VEGAS – David and Judi Laymon waited months for this moment.
It’s 9:45 a.m., and the hungry couple sit inside Weiss Deli & Bakery.
“She was scared to come, but I convinced her,” the 55-year-old husband says, hovering over a plate of french toast. A blue mask covers the logo on his ball cap. “This is the best time to come. There’s not a rush, you get to taste all the flavors.”
Tables on each side of them are empty, each marked with a message: “PLEASE LEAVE THIS TABLE EMPTY.”
On one of the tables is a newspaper with the front-page obituary of Las Vegas legend Roy Horn, half of stage duo Siegfried & Roy, who died Friday due to coronavirus – the disease that also is reason this popular breakfast spot closed for months.
The shutdown orders that kept Nevadans like the Laymons out of their favorite restaurants and stores began to lift Saturday, but diners and shoppers appeared slow to return – and many businesses remained shuttered.
A waitress told the USA TODAY Network it seemed many people had no clue they were opening after the long break, but the restaurant has booked many Mother’s Day reservations.
By 10 a.m. Saturday, 13 diners sat at 10 tables – about half as many that are usually packed with patrons.
Many shops stay closed
On Thursday, Gov. Steve Sisolak detailed what businesses could reopen Saturday under Phase 1 of Nevada lifting restrictions on economic activity.
Open-air malls like Town Square in Las Vegas reopened, allowing shoppers to walk up and down the sidewalks, but many of them didn’t find what they were seeking.
Sipping an energy drink and walking with his girlfriend, Jerry Hovey was surprised at how many stores remained closed Saturday.
“That’s why we got dressed up,” he said. “We were excited to get out of the house.”
Would-be shoppers walked up to chain stores like Hollister and H&M, tugging on the handles of locked doors, disappointment washing over their faces.
The couple settled for a stop at Shiekh, a shoe store.
“We don’t drink or party, but we love going shopping,” Hovey said. “This is about our only fun.”
Looking for a job
Jenna Pribble had a job lined up at a local cinema, but COVID-19 crashed her summer paycheck plans.
On Saturday, the 15-year-old high school student hit Town Square with her friend, Alexis Holt, to look for a job and maybe pick up a couple of things.
“You should have seen our texts,” Pribble said. “We were excited to go shopping. We’re so tired of all this.”
School has been cancelled, a development that seemed like the greatest news in the world. Until the isolation and loneliness set in.
“I kind of miss seeing everyone,” Pribble said.
The friends walked the sidewalks, searching for an open shop they actually wanted to visit, but they had little luck.
The girls got to see each other out in the world, but their journey was otherwise a bust.
“The governor said everything is going to open,” Holt said, “but everything’s closed.”
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.
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