Apr 22, 2020 - Economy

Las Vegas mayor calls for city to reopen: "We've had viruses for years"

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told CNN on Wednesday that she believes it's time to reopen the city despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, calling Nevada's statewide lockdown "total insanity."

Why it matters: As CNN's Anderson Cooper repeatedly pointed out, hotels and casinos are hot spots for the spread of the virus, which visitors to Las Vegas could bring back to their home states. Goodman dismissed the fears as "alarmist" and said businesses should reopen and allow the free market to dictate whether they are "destroyed" by the virus.

  • "I am not a private owner," Goodman said. "That's the competition in this country. The free enterprise and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public."
  • "Right now, we're in a crisis health-wise, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That's their job. That's not the mayor's job."
  • "I'd love everything open because I think we've had viruses for years that have been here."

The big picture: Goodman said she believes there should still be social distancing, but cited no specific plan for how that would be conducted and said it was up to the casinos to decide. She also declined to comment on testing and tracing efforts and falsely suggested that there's no evidence yet that social distancing works.

  • "How do you know until we have a control group?" she said. "We offered to be a control group but I was told by our statistician we can't do that because people from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city."
  • "We don't need it. We weren't broken. We tragically have 150 people we lost. Tragic. But we have 2.3 million people here."

When CNN's Cooper tried to show Goodman a graphic from Chinese scientists of how the virus can spread in a restaurant from an asymptomatic carrier, Goodman responded: "This isn't China, this is Las Vegas."

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