Governor’s Casino Shutdown Power Smacks of Tyranny, Las Vegas Mayor Says

Posted on: March 17, 2021, 04:58h. 

Last updated on: March 17, 2021, 05:31h.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has criticized the governor’s sole power to shut down casinos and other businesses, saying it “smacks of tyranny.”

Carolyn Goodman
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman speaks Wednesday at a City Council meeting. She criticized the governor for mandating casino and business shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic. (Image: Fox5 Vegas)

Goodman said Wednesday that people in some states have been “forced to subjugate their freedoms to the will of a single individual, seemingly in perpetuity.”

Goodman posted a three-and-a-half-page statement Wednesday on her Twitter account, addressing shutdowns. She read the statement at the City Council meeting the same morning.

There is apparently no sunset on emergency powers bestowed to some governors, which smacks of tyranny,” she said.

The mayor said she expressed her concerns last March 18 about “completely shutting down our beloved Las Vegas — its hotels, its businesses, and its schools.” Last year, she called Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) a dictator.

On Wednesday, Goodman said her plan has been to “take a more nuanced approach, to enact safety precautions that would enable Las Vegas to continue to function.”

She said she is calling for “a return to personal responsibility and personal liberty.”

“Masks, distancing, and frequent hand-washing and sanitation are reasonable measures that health officials assure us make a difference,” she said.`

Governor Mandates Shutdown

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last March, Sisolak ordered casinos and other nonessential businesses to close. After a 78-day shutdown, he allowed casinos to reopen June 4 with capacity limitations and health measures in place. 

One year later, 13 casinos statewide still have not reopened.

In March 2020, the governor said his goal was for people in the state “to come together as Nevadans to save lives.”

“That requires aggressive strategies aimed at limiting community spread,” he said.

During the year, Sisolak put varying limits on the number of patrons who can be on a gaming floor at one time. This week, he upped the limit from 35 percent to 50 percent. 

‘People are Dying’

As the mayor noted in Wednesday’s statement, she challenged Sisolak’s shutdown decision a year ago. She echoed her opposition on Wednesday.

“The decision by one individual, which required no vote by the Nevada Legislature or any other elected body, promised to cause undue hardship to hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” she said.

Goodman called the recent 35 percent capacity limit “bizarre,” noting that one year after the first COVID-19 cases were diagnosed, “Our businesses are still only operating at 50 percent capacity.”

Last year in announcing temporary shutdowns, the governor said, “People are dying. It’s incumbent upon the citizens of this state to take this seriously.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5,147 Nevadans have died of COVID-19 complications, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

By mid-March of this year, 360,245 people out of an adult population of almost 2.4 million had been fully vaccinated.