Governor Steve Sisolak first decided to close all Nevada’s casinos on March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak . He actually closed down every nonessential business. One of his biggest critics at that time was Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. She knew what shutting down her town would do the local economy. Gov. Steve Sisolak knew what leaving them open would do to efforts to contain the situation.
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The initial order called for a 30-day shutdown. This was later extended to April 30. Going back to late last week, the Reno Gazette-Journal revisited the situation between the two. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has remained adamant about reopening the city as soon as possible as the April 30 deadline nears. Her plight has gone national behind this aggressive stance.
The advice from public health official advocate for a further extension of the current policy. The resort’s town mayor continues to make the same argument. In an interview with USA Today Network on April 22, she stated:
“We are a hospitality state. We depend on service to the customers. I’m not talking about gaming. I’ talking about people who are out of work. We closed down with no plan of how to reopen. And that has been my plea from the beginning to the governor: Have a plan.”
The governor has already stated that he does not have a firm date to reopen the state. The process depends on Nevada’s progress with virus testing. There is also certain containment criteria that must be met. This criteria exists at the state and federal levels.
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Heading into the final week of April, Nevada had exceeded 4,000 positive tests for COVID-19. The death toll passed 170 people. The governor credits the current shutdown with dramatically reducing each of these numbers.
Ms. Goodman still believes the time to open is now. Her main concern is to get unemployed workers back on the payroll. She went on to add:
“These people now who are lost, who are out of work. They don’t have anyone to pay their rent, their mortgage or even buy groceries. They call all the time, ‘I need a job, I need to earn money.’” To the Las Vegas mayor, it should be the choice of the individual whether they enter a restaurant or casino or hotel. When asked about her plan to reopen Las Vegas, she was quoted as follows:
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“Assume everybody is a carrier. And then you start from an even slate and tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open. And competition will destroy that business if- in fact- it becomes evident that they have the disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.”
The backlash against the mayor has been rather vocal. Concern for the health of casino workers has been raised. Acting responsibly is another talking point. As far as the governor, his response was:
“I heard some of the comments. I’m not going to respond to those comments or attacks on me.”