Casinos throughout Nevada were closed Wednesday, along with other nonessential businesses, following an unprecedented order from Gov. Steve Sisolak. He urged residents to stay home to help curtail the spread of the new coronavirus. (March 18) AP Domestic
LAS VEGAS – Nevada’s most influential labor union condemned Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman after she appeared on national television and called for Sin City to reopen as a “placebo” to test how COVID-19 behaves when the shutdown ends.
“The Mayor of Las Vegas’ statements are outrageous considering essential frontline workers have been dealing with the consequences of this crisis firsthand,” said Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline in a statement.
So far, 11 Culinary Union members have died from the contagious respiratory disease that’s killed 189 people in Nevada. The state has recorded more than 4,000 positive tests.
As mayor, Goodman has no power or jurisdiction over the Las Vegas Strip, which lies outside city limits in Clark County. She has urged state leaders to lift the closures that put thousands out of work.
It’s a stance that has put her at odds with City Hall colleagues.
“We respectfully disagree with the mayor,” council members Brian Knudsen, Olivia Diaz and Cedric Crear wrote in a Nevada Independent column. “Reopening the City of Las Vegas (or Southern Nevada) too soon could put our local economy in peril, and make the situation even worse. We stand in solidarity with Gov. Sisolak, Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick and the Clark County Commission.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday he is eager to reopen businesses in Las Vegas but emphasized the importance of adhering to public health protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am not going to allow our workers to be put in a position that they have to decide between their job, their paycheck, and their life,” Sisolak said. “That’s not a fair position to put them in, and I will not allow that to happen.”
Hours early, Goodman appeared on the same program with Cooper and pushed a different agenda: She suggested that Las Vegas become “a control group” city to test how relaxing restrictions would affect residents.
“I offered to be a control group and I was told by our statistician you can’t do that because people from all parts of Southern Nevada come in to work in the city,” Goodman said. “We would love to be that placebo side so you have something to measure against.”
At one point, Cooper displayed a diagram that showed how the coronavirus could spread in a restaurant in China.
“This isn’t China, this is Las Vegas, Nevada,” Goodman said in response to the diagram.
Cooper described Goodman’s statement as “really ignorant.”
Union workers aren’t willing to take part in a grand experiment, Argüello-Kline said.
“Workplaces need to be safe and healthy,” she said, “not a petri dish.”
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.
Read or Share this story: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2020/04/23/culinary-union-las-vegas-mayor-carolyn-goodman-coronavirus/3012208001/