Las Vegas Mayor Goodman Calls Nevada’s New COVID Restrictions ‘Crushing’ to City
Posted on: November 24, 2020, 07:05h.
Last updated on: November 24, 2020, 10:22h.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) labeled Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) “a dictator” and said his new COVID policies will be “crushing to the city.” Sisolak’s COVID orders cut occupancy at casinos and other businesses.
Goodman made the comments in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The report came shortly after Sisolak announced that the state’s gaming properties, restaurants, and bars must lower their occupancy from 50 to 25 percent starting Tuesday for at least three weeks.
He also put tougher capacity restrictions on casino showrooms, and forbids in-person dining at restaurants without patrons first making a reservation.
Obviously, this was crushing to the city,” Goodman said in the interview. “He’s been a dictator with whom we have complied every step of the way. We’ve had no choice.”
Following the three-week “statewide pause,” Goodman predicts tighter restrictions will be issued by the governor. The coronavirus pandemic will not subside until vaccinations are taken by the public, she added.
“He’s tried all these measures, and it is still here,” Goodman said about the virus and the governor’s attempts to control it. She also claims Sisolak failed to consult with the state’s mayors before ordering the new round of restrictions.
In response to Mayor Goodman’s latest criticism, Sisolak said in a statement to the Review-Journal, “When Nevada’s elected leaders speak, their words carry weight — and these difficult times call for our leaders to be unified in protecting the public.”
But Goodman is not alone in raising concerns about the new restrictions issued by the governor.
Economist Warns About Impact on Recovery
On Sunday, Stephen Miller, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, warned in an interview with Casino.org that operating at 25 percent of capacity — rather than the prior 50 percent — will cause “some businesses to close rather than continue to operate.” It could lead to more layoffs and slow the economic recovery, Miller further cautioned.
In response to the governor’s new orders, MGM Resorts International highlighted the capacity limits imposed on casino showrooms. They will be restricted to 25 percent occupancy or 50 guests, compared to the current cap of 250 people.
The latest restrictions come as the casino industry is already stricken with weekday closures and revenue losses from earlier months of closings. This year, MGM Resorts eliminated 18,000 positions nationwide, including 10,000 in Las Vegas. Other Las Vegas casinos and Nevada-based operators have cut jobs, too.
Restaurants See Canceled Reservations
Sisolak also ordered that no more than four people can sit at one restaurant table. Las Vegas restaurants are reporting some customers, who made reservations for five or more, are canceling dinner plans for Thanksgiving.
Would-be diners don’t want to sit at two tables, the Review-Journal reported. The new restrictions were announced on Sunday, just four days before Thanksgiving. That leaves little time for restaurant staff who, in past years, have served many holiday dinners to local residents and tourists alike.
Also, local restaurant owners say that the governor’s new cap of 50 or fewer people for events has led to cancellations of planned holiday parties typically taking place before Christmas, the news report adds.
In her Review-Journal interview, Goodman noted the concerns voiced by small business owners about operating at even half-capacity. Some restaurant and bar owners have warned they cannot remain in business at 25 percent occupancy.
On Monday afternoon, Jace Radke, a spokesman for Mayor Goodman’s office, issued a statement to Casino.org that “The city of Las Vegas continues to follow and enforce the health and safety requirements put in place by the governor and the Southern Nevada Health District.”
The boundaries of the city of Las Vegas do not include the properties located on The Strip. These are part of unincorporated Clark County.
Prior Spats Between Goodman, Sisolak
Goodman and Sisolak have engaged in public disputes before. In April, Goodman appeared on national TV interviews to criticize Silolak’s ongoing shuttering of “nonessential” businesses in the state, starting in March. That included casinos.
Her comments led to her remaining in the national spotlight for several weeks. Nevada residents were divided between those supporting the governor or those who agreed with Goodman and wanted businesses reopened.
Supporters of the governor contend he is trying to balance the economic needs of the state with the public health threat posed by the coronavirus. Casino workers have worried publicly about getting infected with COVID-19.
For instance, Dendra Fountain, who says she works at a hotel-casino, posted on Casino.org, that if Sisolak closes the casinos again, “He would be doing all of us in housekeeping a huge favor…. they are not telling the truth.”
As of Monday, there were 2,339 new cases of coronavirus in Nevada. That brought the state’s total number of cases since the outbreak began to 136,227.
Six more people died from the pandemic in Nevada, state health officials reported on Monday. The total number of deaths is now at 2,023 for the state.
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