(The Center Square) – Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is actively working on a plan to reopen the state's economy, praising social distancing efforts as testing becomes more accessible.
"As your Governor, I can assure you that we're working on the strongest plan possible to re-open our businesses and our communities, one that will focus on putting the health and safety of Nevadans first and sets us up for a strong economic recovery," Sisolak said at a news conference.
Sisolak said reopening will most likely occur one industry at a time.
"Understand that re-opening isn’t going to mean life goes back to normal overnight," Michael Schaus, communications director with the Nevada Policy Research Institute, told The Center Square. "Businesses and individuals are going to continue to police themselves to a large extent – and to that point, what re-opening really means is giving businesses the freedom to start serving their customers in a safe and thoughtful way.
"Understand also, government does not really have any power to 'reopen' the economy – it merely has the power to keep it closed," Schaus said. "Only when businesses are given the freedom to try to serve customers in a safe way – and consumers are confident that it is, in fact, safe – will anything start to actually 'reopen'."
The state is also dealing with a large number of people who are out of work. Unemployment claims surged 2,125 percent in March when compared with the same time last year.
Getting Nevadans back to work is only part of the equation.
"Before companies have to worry about reattracting workers, they will have to worry about reattracting customers," Schaus said. "Just because an open sign is hung on the door doesn’t mean the average consumer is going to feel comfortable or safe about going into a casino, attending a convention, or having a drink in a local tavern.
"Politicians aren’t going to be able suddenly get swarms of tourists coming back to Nevada to rebuild our economic engine in Las Vegas, but they can make it easier for businesses to grow, hire and expand within our state by keeping taxes low, repealing certain regulatory burdens and streamlining licensing procedures," Schaus said. "And, ultimately, market-friendly reforms will be a much bigger benefit to Nevada workers than a temporary boost to unemployment benefits."