(The Center Square) – Gov. Steve Sisolak said he is not expecting Nevada's economy to fully recover until there is a coronavirus vaccine.
Nancy Brune, executive director of Guinn Center, told The Center Square Sisolak's statement aligns with the recent statements made by both Federal Reserve Chairman Powell and National Economic Council Chair Gary Cohn. National health experts have stated, based on research and models, that the national and local economy is not likely to fully recover until there is a coronavirus vaccine.
Because of its dependence on tourism, Nevada's economy has been one of the hardest hit in the nation. Nevada casinos have been closed since mid-March but are scheduled to open Thursday. But Sisolak fears that travelers won't return, especially international travelers, until they feel they have some immunity to the virus and feel comfortable getting on a plane.
Federal officials hope a vaccine will be available by the end of the year or early next year. Until then, what recovery looks like for Nevada is uncertain.
"Some economic analysts have suggested that because unemployment levels are so high, recovery will be slow going," Brune told The Center Square. "The shape of the economic recovery curve will depend on the extent to which businesses, visitors, and residents implement and enforce safe social distancing practices. Additionally, we need to ensure that our state and local officials are working together and coordinating the application and disbursement of federal funds so that we're aligning and leveraging resources, and directing them in ways that best support economic recovery."
The rate of unemployment in the state is staggering – the latest figures show an unemployment rate of more than 28 percent for April.
Though economic recovery is expected to be slow, it seems the most important aspect will be ensuring funding is applied where it is most needed.
"To accelerate our recovery, Nevada needs to be laser-focused on how we plan to disburse existing CARES Act funds and go after additional competitive grants and how the state will coordinate efforts with Clark County and the City of Las Vegas," Brune said. "Many other states – like Utah and Kansas – have launched Task Forces that are responsible for the statewide distribution of significant CARES Act funding. We need to build capacity or redeploy existing capacity, track grant funding, develop a single source of information for agencies and nonprofits, and streamline or even waive processes to speed up the ability to apply for grants and direct resources to where they are most needed."