Virus Outbreak Nevada

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announces a state of emergency amid coronavirus fears, at a news conference Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Las Vegas.

(The Center Square) – Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak disputed the Las Vegas mayor’s claims that the city is ready to be reopened despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“We are clearly not ready to open,” the governor said Wednesday in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who earlier in the day interviewed Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

Goodman said that Las Vegas businesses should be reopened, but that it’s up to them to determine social distancing measures.

“That’s their job, that’s not the mayor’s job,” she said. 

Sisolak said since Cooper’s interview with Goodman, the state reached 187 deaths and over 4,100 COVID-19 cases.

“I will not allow the citizens of Nevada, our Nevadans to be used as a control group, as a placebo, whatever she wants to call that,” he said. “I certainly will not allow that.”

“I can tell you our largest trade union on the strip, Culinary Union 226, lost 11 members. They ‘ve lost 11 members to COVID-19 already, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they don’t lose 11 more,” Sisolak added.

Sisolak announced this week that he intends to slowly reopen Nevada's economy after the turbulence brought on by the state’s stay-at-home order, which forced non-essential businesses to shutter for an indefinite period.

According to the governor, the state's recovery plan is set out in phases. Nevada has entered "phase zero," Sisolak said.

“The lives of Nevadans are more important than profit,” Sisolak told reporters at a press conference this week. “We want to move into a phase where saving lives and our economy are not mutually exclusive.”

“The reopening of our economy is highly dependent on expanded testing and tracing capacity. Our No. 1 priority is always the health and safety of Nevadans,” he added.

This phase mandates the state to meet four requirements. First, the state must enforce policies that will continue to bend the virus curve downward through social distancing and other persistent policies. Second, Nevada's hospitals are expected to stay open and running with capacity for more patients and COVID-19 related triage. Third, state officials will continue to protect groups particularly vulnerable, including the elderly. And, fourth, the state will continue to compel residents to maintain distancing standards and wear face masks to prevent future transmission while in public.

Schools across the state, according to the governor, will also remain closed and will use distance learning for the remainder of the academic year.