The Mayor of Las Vegas wants to reopen soon. Nevada Governor Sisolak and casino-resort workers say wait

Las Vegas, Nevada April 24- The first case of Covid19 was reported in Nevada on March 5, 2020. It was a man in his 50s in Clark County, which is in Southern Nevada and where the famous Las Vegas Strip is. Properties on the Vegas Strip were ordered to shut down operations in mid-March by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. Since then, now 50 days into shut-down, here’s where the numbers are in Nevada: 4,208 total cases; a per capita rate of 1.39 infections per 100 people; 195 deaths as of April 23.

Earlier in the week Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman set off a firestorm of responses when she granted CNN anchor Anderson Cooper an extended interview in which she made the following head-scratching claims: “Entertainment Capital of the world where everything is clean.” “We don’t do bad things to people at all ever.” We’re not getting the truth. I know over the years, going back to the 1950s, with the atomic bomb, don’t worry about more testing in Nevada. You’ll all be fine. Take a shower.”

But dismissing the dangers of nuclear fallout and radiation poisoning wasn’t the most controversial thing she said. “ We offered to be a control group,” said Goodman.

Wait a minute. WHAT? 

Mayor Goodman has no authority over the Vegas Strip which is in Clark County, and thank goodness for that. But she does have some say over what happens in Downtown Las Vegas. And offering the lives of citizens and casino-resort workers for a life-or-death experiment is probably one of the craziest things any US mayor has ever said. Fortunately, she listened to reason and said she was told they couldn’t be the control group because people from outside Downtown Las Vegas come there to work, gamble and enjoy themselves. As if that made her come off any less catastrophically out-of-touch.

Still Mayor Goodman remains Vegas’ chief cheerleader on reopening sooner rather than later as she says, “It is not about anything other than putting those who have lost their jobs in a city that wasn’t broken, and didn’t have a disease, back to work.”

Governor Sisolak is taking a much more sane and sober approach. “If we reopen and we’re not ready with the best plan possible, all the incredible work you’ve done will have been wasted, and we will run the risk of hurting our economy even more,” said Gov. Sisolak on April 16.

A sentiment reflected by Las Vegas Strip worker Bella Zoto who has worked on the Strip since the mid 1970s. Zoto came to the states from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after finishing high school there when she was just 16. Today, Zoto is nearing her 70thbirthday and still loves working as a food server in Las Vegas. 

“I think it was a good decision of Governor Sisolak to shut down the strip early,” says Zoto.

When asked what she thinks about Mayor Goodman’s desire to reopen Las Vegas sooner Zoto says, “With all my respect to Mayor Goodman, I have to say I disagree. Yes, we have to work. But we have to be safe first. If we put money first, then we’re going to get sick, and it’s going cost more to come back.”

Zoto also says she takes great pride in her work in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas and that putting her customers comfort and needs first is what she’s always been trained to do.

“I mean come on. The people come from all over the world to Las Vegas to relax and enjoy themselves. Being in the hospital is not comfortable. Being sick is not fun. We have to wait till we know it’s safe.”

At present Governor Sisolak and other local authorities will be looking at reopening in early May but will reevaluate then based on the most recent evidence and when the experts say it is safe.

Zoto says she knows Las Vegas needs to listen to the professionals but also has her own ideas on what might help Las Vegas know when to reopen.

“I think we can check on states that are not on lockdown, like Florida and Georgia, who reopened sooner, and see how that worked out for them in a few months. Maybe July. I mean, I want to make a living. But not if I’m going to die or make other people sick.”