Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is calling on her state’s governor to re-open the casinos and put her city back to work. Las Vegas, America’s long-time gambling capitol, has been under a 30-day shutdown order that ends on April 30 (though that date could easily be extended).

Goodman, a political independent, is joining a growing chorus of mainly conservative voices who are suggesting that the fiscal impact from lockdown is worse than the physical impact of COVID-19. To wit, Goodman suggests that shuttering the Vegas Strip because of an illness that has killed, “less than one half of one percent our population…makes no sense.” Nevada has, so far, suffered only 138 COVID-19 deaths as of this writing. (Of course, that low number is likely the result of exactly the kinds of practices Goodman wants to end.)

So what would a post-COVID-19 closure Vegas casino look like? According to a report on Bloomberg News, executives from the big casino companies are currently discussing that independently of Goodman’s plan. Some of the ideas they’re discussing include testing casino patrons’ temperatures when they enter the building; only opening every other slot machine to promote social distancing; and casino employees who are swaddled in masks and gloves. As of this writing, these are only proposals and no casino has introduced an actual plan for re-opening.

Goodman’s call for re-opening the Vegas casinos also hinges on two factors that are completely out of her control. For starters, it’s Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s call as to when businesses can re-open and he’s not rushing anything. Sisolak has made it clear that he’ll be using medical and scientific data to guide his re-opening decisions.

It’s also not clear whether or not American’s, tens of millions of whom are recently unemployed, will be flocking back Vegas anytime soon. And even those lucky households that have dodged the economic carnage are extremely hesitant about getting on an airplane and staying in a hotel.

In short, no matter what Goodman thinks or wants, Nevada’s casino recovery is looking to be a very long, painful process.


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