Las Vegas mayor says 'free enterprise' will allow restaurants to reopen safely


The mayor of Las Vegas, calling for the reopening of casinos, stores and restaurants, said “free enterprise” would ensure that businesses operated safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would have the cleanest hotel with 6 feet figured out for every human being who comes in there,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman, an independent, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during an interview that left the veteran anchor incredulous.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, ordered the closing of nonessential businesses for the entire month of April.

“I am not a private owner, that’s the competition in this country, the free enterprise, and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public. Right now we’re in a crisis healthwise, and for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they’d better figure it out. That’s their job, that’s not the mayor’s job,” Goodman said.

Photographed through glass, streets are empty of traffic along the Las Vegas Strip as casinos and other business are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Empty streets along the Las Vegas Strip on April 14. (John Locher/AP)

“It would take weeks for anyone to know if a place was an epicenter of viral infection,” and meanwhile many people could become sick, Cooper said.

“I’m not going down that road,” Goodman responded.

The mayor said that reopening the city, which hosts around 42 million visitors annually, was consistent with good scientific practice, because the city could be a “control group” in an experiment to determine if stay-at-home orders and social distancing are working to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevada has had around 4,000 cases of COVID-19 and 163 deaths.


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Originally published