The state of Nevada has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and it hasn’t just been in the total number of cases or deaths. The economy of the state, most notably Las Vegas, is suffering in a major way, and there was hope that businesses could reopen at the end of April. Governor Steve Sisolak made comments on Tuesday night that sound like the state could be in for another month of closures.
Other states across the country have either started reopening businesses or have developed plans to do so in the next few weeks. Governor Sisolak spoke to members of the press through a briefing on Tuesday night and stated that Nevada is not in that position.
The federal government and President Donald Trump have issued guidelines as to when businesses can reopen around the country, and they have designated certain phases for when that can occur. Sisolak noted that Nevada is still a few weeks away from being in phase one, which could spell major trouble for the economy of the state.
On March 17, Sisolak issued his first stay-at-home order, which shut down all nonessential businesses in the state. The initial order was to last 30 days, and only businesses such as grocery stores and health care providers were allowed to stay open. This meant that all of the casinos, hotels, and restaurants in the state had to be shut down, which essentially turned off the lights on the Las Vegas strip.
Since that time, Sisolak has extended the stay-at-home order through the end of April, and it appears that he will be forced to announce another extension. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has been urging the governor to allow businesses to reopen in the city, but it sounds like she will not get her wish.
There have been numerous protests that have occurred in the state of Nevada over the last few days, and these protests are similar to those taking place in other parts of the country. Mayor Goodman argues that an extended closure will have devastating and long-lasting effects on the city of Las Vegas and in the state of Nevada as a whole.
One of the reasons that Governor Sisolak is planning to delay the reopening of businesses in the state is the fact that Las Vegas is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. If casinos and resorts are allowed to reopen, the city would be flooded with tourists that could potentially be carrying the COVID-19 strain. Sisolak wants to ensure that the state gets it right when they begin to let businesses resume operations.
Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts, sent a detailed plan to the governor last week in hopes of reopening the casino industry in mid-May. The letter outlined all of the safety precautions that casinos could take to keep both their customers and employees safe from contracting the virus. Sisolak acknowledged receiving the letter from Maddox but did not comment on the plan during his press briefing.
The governor also acknowledged that social distancing measures have worked to flatten the curve of the spread of the disease, but also warned residents that the worst is yet to come.
As of Tuesday evening, there have been 3,937 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state of Nevada, and 163 of those patients have died. A total of 141 of these deaths have occurred in Clark County, which is where the city of Las Vegas is located.
The unemployment rate in Nevada is now up to 6.3 percent. The rate was just 3.6 percent in February.