Economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt all over the world. However, some places have been hit harder than the others. Cities that heavily depend on tourism and entertainment are in a particularly difficult spot as they’re facing multiple challenges. Not only their business have been closed but they have no idea when they’ll be reopened as these business have widely been deemed “nonessential”.
And, while they may be “nonessential” from a global perspective, they are quite essential to those who make living for themselves and their families from them.
As the gambling and entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is a prime example of a city where prolonged protection measures are starting to take heavy toll on the economy. In light of this, city’s major Carolyn Goodman has issued a call to start reopening local casinos and other entertainment venues, albeit without providing a clear plan to incorporate prevention measures provided by the federal guidelines.
Standing Up to the Gaming Control Board
In her recent statement, Goodman has issued an appeal to start opening business in Las Vegas. However, she doesn’t have the power to do much more than that as opening casinos is strictly in the hands of the Gaming Control Board and they don’t seem to share Mrs. Goodman’s views.
According to the guidelines currently in place, all businesses wanting to reopen need to notify the board about social distancing and other measures they plan to implement. The proposal needs to be sent in seven days before the planned reopening, allowing the board enough time to check it out and other accept it or turn it down.
On the state level, Governor Steve Sisolak explained that the state plans on following federal plans for the gradual reopening of businesses. He said casino owners are working together to come up with the solutions but also emphasized that these plans are in their early stages and that it was too early to say when the actual reopening would start.
Different Approaches to Economic Recovery
Like in Nevada, there is disconnect between the opinions of different politicians in many US states. For example, governors of South Carolina and Georgia have announced their plans to start reopening businesses and getting things back on track. However, they’re dealing with a pushback from a number of city mayors who believe that it is too early for such plans.
Mayor Goodman is unwavering in her stance, though. Talking on the topic of the necessity of restarting the city’s economy, she emphasized that Las Vegas has never been completely shut down. In her words, “everything is clean in Las Vegas”, which was probably a comment aimed at addressing national guidelines for social distancing and keeping high hygiene standards.
However, public health experts aren’t on the same page. They believe that in places where it is hard to achieve appropriate social distancing, more testing will be required to stay on top of the Covid-19 spread. While Goodman doesn’t deny the need for more testing, she also emphasizes that this isn’t her job.
We Will Be Placebo
In fact, it seems the mayor has a rather unorthodox agenda, which will likely divide the public. She explained that she offered for Las Vegas to serve as a control group. What this means is that social distancing and other measures would be relaxed in Vegas, which would allow it be used as model to compare against other places where measures are much stricter.
In the simplest of terms, Las Vegas would be the placebo group in a scientific study.
Statisticians don’t seem to share her enthusiasm, though. They explain that this isn’t possible as people who come to work in Las Vegas are from all over southern Nevada.
For the time being, it seems Las Vegas will remain in the state of lockdown for the upcoming days and weeks. However, it is becoming clear that these measures can’t be maintained indefinitely as the economic pressure is rising. Health specialists, politicians, statisticians, and everybody else involved will need to come up with a solution, not just for Vegas but for other countless cities around the globe that are facing a similar situation.