Asian-owned restaurants claim unfair treatment by SNHD

LAS VEGAS - Owners of dozens of Asian restaurants in Las Vegas claim they are being unfairly targeted by the Southern Nevada Health District and by some in local media.

Tuesday, more than 50 Asian restaurant owners, along with the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, will meet to discuss those claims.  Clark County commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Marilyn Kirkpatrick are expected to attend.

Among their concerns are restaurant inspections that have inconsistent standards, inspectors that lack cultural sensitivity to ethnic foods, and excessive fines they feel is to extort money rather than fix problems.

Sonny Vinuya, President of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, said some Las Vegas media outlets exploit the situation with sensational news reports.  He claims that has resulted in reductions of up to 40-50% for some Asian-owned businesses.

"These are employers too," said Vinuya, "They are business owners. They employ people and this is their living.  Some of them end up either closing or changing to a new restaurant, which means more costs to business."

Former restaurant owner, William Wong, says he's experienced a lack of cooperation from SNHD for the past few years.  He believes Tuesday's meeting could repair fractured relations.

"We love the health department," said Wong.  "But at the same time, we want to help our diversity owned restaurants meet those health requirements, and that's the whole purpose of this."

The meeting is at 2 p.m., October 24th, at the Desert Breeze Community Center.  The meeting is open to the public.


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