Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak: ‘We’re Certainly Not Opening Up the Strip’

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 17: Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference on the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on March 17, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sisolak announced a statewide closure of all nonessential businesses by noon on …
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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said this week that officials are “certainly not” opening up the Las Vegas strip despite the calls of Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) — who recently blasted the “total insanity” of the shutdown — to reopen the city.

Sisolak has yet to provide a definitive date for reopening the state, explaining that it is “highly dependent on expanded testing and tracing capacity” and contingent on a two-week decline in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

“I know people are anxious. I know people want a date. I would like nothing better than to give you a date. But what I have to look for — I’m not determining when this date is going to be,” Sisolak said, according to News 3.

“The virus and the science is determining when this date is going to be,” he continued.

“I do not want to risk the chance of undoing it by opening a week or two early and then have us have another spike and have to shut everything back down again and start back at square zero,” he added, emphasizing that he has no immediate plans to reopen the state and certainly not the Las Vegas strip.

He said:

It’s a great place to come and enjoy yourself and have a great weekend, just not today. Today is not the day. But when the days comes, we’re going to welcome everybody back with open arms, and Las Vegas will continue to be one of the safest places in the world to come and visit.

I mean, we’re not going to open up the strip. I worked with Chair Morgan of the Gaming Control Board – we’re certainly not opening up the strip. What will be done, if it’s possible, to have some opening restrictions by then, I don’t ‘know right now. If you’re asking me that today, no, I can’t say that we’re opening up. But if you ask me that question in seven days, well maybe we will start to see that trajectory that I spoke of going downward. We’re going to know that when we get just a couple of days out, but we’re not there yet. I don’t want to give anybody any false hope.

Sisolak has faced fierce opposition from Goodman, who blasted the “total insanity” of the shutdown in a fiery speech last week, encouraging people to “remember the data”:

We are a state of 3.2 million people, and we’ll soon find out how that changes as we go through our census shortly. 2.3 of us live down here in Southern Nevada. Tragically, we have already lost to this virus 128 individuals in Nevada. [HHS reports 131] Many with complications attributed, in part, to COVID-19. Let me assure you that our sympathies and condolences to those who have lost loved ones. But let me tell you — with a population of 3.2 million living in Nevada, those whom we lost represent less than a half of one percent of our population, which has caused us to shut down the entire state and everything that makes Nevada unique.

“We’re adults with brains who can know what to do, to wash our hands and take all precautions not to spread this disease. But we cannot put our head in the sand and think it’s going to go away,” she continued, demanding officials to “Open the city. Open Clark County. Open the state.”

“For heaven’s sake, being closed is killing us already and killing Las Vegas, our industry, our convention and tourism business that we have all worked so hard to build. The longer we wait to do this, the more impossible it will become to recover,” she said.

She followed up in a contentious interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper this week, battling over the logistics of safely reopening the strip:

Nevada had 4,208 positive cases of the coronavirus and 189 related deaths as of Thursday morning.

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