States are to begin reopening over the next few weeks. One of them is Nevada, with Gov. Steve Sisolak setting out plans to open gyms, certain restaurants, and some outpatient surgery facilities. The state will slowly work towards opening casinos and other nonessential businesses.
However, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman wants casinos to open sooner. In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Goodman suggested that businesses should be allowed to open sooner and close if they result in cases of coronavirus.
"Assume everybody's a carrier," the mayor said. "And then you start from an even slate, right there, and tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open, and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have the disease. They're closed down. It's that simple."
MSNBC's Katy Tur dismissed the idea as "modern-day survival of the fittest."
"We've survived the West Nile and SARS, bird flu, E. coli, swine flu, the Zika virus," Goodman told Tur.
"They were not as contagious, and they did not spread as far as this disease has already done," Tur added.
Mayor Goodman seemed to double-down on her comments on Wednesday. During an interview with CNN, Anderson Cooper became inpatient with Goodman as she offered a series of confusing ideas on how to end the lockdown.
“I’d love everything open because I think we’ve had viruses for years that have been here,” Goodman said.
“Wow, that’s really ignorant.”— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 23, 2020
Anderson Cooper clashes with Las Vegas Mayor Goodman after she justified her wish to quickly reopen casinos, saying, “This isn’t China, this is Las Vegas,” after he showed her a graphic of how coronavirus could spread in a restaurant in China. pic.twitter.com/2iuzXJ1Mdf
Cooper criticized the idea, suggesting that Goodman was encouraging people to come to Las Vegas, visit casinos, and then travel back home after breathing in circulated air and touching slot machines.
“Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish?” Cooper asked. Goodman responded by calling the anchor an “alarmist.”
“I’ve lived a long life,” she added. “I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I knew what it’s like to be with subways and crammed into elevators.”
Goodman said that she was concerned about social distancing and that it was down to casinos to come up with a plan and enforce it. "That’s up to them to figure out,” she said.
“I’m not a private owner of a hotel,” Goodman continued. “I wish I were. And I would have the cleanest hotel with six feet figured out for every human being that comes in there.”
Cooper also showed Goodman a model made by Chinese scientists that shows how air conditioning is believed to have spread coronavirus from one diner at a restaurant to several others.
Goodman interrupted by saying “this isn’t China, this is Las Vegas.”
“Okay, that’s really ignorant,” Cooper retorted. He went on to point out that although the model is based on a Chinese restaurant, "they are human beings too."
Goodman went on to suggest that Las Vegas could be used as a “control group” for life without social distancing. Goodman explained that she had offered the city as a "control group" but was told that she couldn't do it. "I said 'oh that's too bad', because I know when you have a disease, you have a placebo that gets the water and the sugar, and then you get those who actually get the shot."
"We would love to be that placebo, so we have something to measure against," Goodman added.
Cooper responded by saying that "the person who gets the placebo usually gets the short end of the stick."
"You don't know," Goodman responded.
The mayor doesn't have authority over the Vegas Strip, and many casino owners have criticized her point of view. Matthew Maddox, the CEO of Wynn Resorts, said that Goodman's perspective on the shutdown "has no basis in science or data and should be ignored."
Stephen Cloobeck, the former CEO of Diamond Resorts International, added: "Mayor Goodman is the mayor of the city of Las Vegas downtown. She has nothing to do with the Strip. And we're sick and tired of hearing this."
And following last night's interview with CNN, Gov. Sisolak also seemed to dismiss her comments.
“To those around the country & world who can’t wait to visit Las Vegas & other parts of Nevada again: the State of Nevada is committed to protecting our residents & welcoming back visitors to a safe environment when the time is right. We take this seriously,” Sisolak tweeted after the interview.
To those around the country & world who can’t wait to visit Las Vegas & other parts of Nevada again: the State of Nevada is committed to protecting our residents & welcoming back visitors to a safe environment when the time is right. We take this seriously.— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) April 22, 2020
“Nevadans have done an excellent job flattening the curve so far. That’s why we haven’t seen nearly the number of cases or deaths predicted in early models. I’m so proud of our State,” he added.
“So to all those who can’t wait to come back, we can’t wait to welcome you – when the time is right. And we are working around the clock to ensure we are not only the most fun destination in the world, but the safest.”
"Clark County’s Las Vegas Strip, in addition to the gaming properties in other jurisdictions like the City of Las Vegas, are working with the Gaming Control Board to establish the best protocols for a safe and sustainable reopening,” Sisolak concluded.
Clark County’s Las Vegas Strip, in addition to the gaming properties in other jurisdictions like the City of Las Vegas, are working with the Gaming Control Board to establish the best protocols for a safe and sustainable reopening.— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) April 22, 2020
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.