Las Vegas mayor won’t give businesses social distancing guidelines for reopening: ‘They better figure it out. That’s their job’

“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,” Goodman, an independent, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Right now, we’re in a crisis health-wise, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That’s their job. That’s not the mayor’s job.”

Goodman, an independent, does not have the power to order Las Vegas’ casinos to reopen and the state’s Gaming Control Board will ultimately sign off on a plan to have the iconic Sin City businesses open their doors again. Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Tuesday that casino owners are working together on coming up with a plan on how to protect their customers when they eventually do open.

The state plans to follow the federal government’s guidelines on reopening the economy from stay-at-home orders, a crucial part of which is declining reports of new cases for 14 consecutive days. Sisolak described the state as being in “phase zero” on Tuesday and he did not give a date on when to expect reopenings to begin.

Goodman’s comments come as more states plan phased reopenings of their economies following new guidance from President Donald Trump — even as public health experts have repeatedly stressed the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too early.

There has been a disconnect between some Democratic mayors and Republican governors on how to safely reopen areas under stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Governors in Georgia and South Carolina announced plans earlier this week to allow businesses to reopen in their states, but have faced pushback from mayors who don’t believe it’s safe to open businesses like gyms, tattoo parlors, nail salons and other places deemed non-essential in initial orders.

The coronavirus pandemic has proved catastrophic to the nation’s economy, including in places like Las Vegas where many businesses that are core to the city’s identity — namely casinos, hotels and theaters — are closed.

“I want everything back. We never closed down the United States. We’ve never closed down Nevada. We’ve never closed down Las Vegas because that’s our job. Entertainment capital of the world where everything is clean,” Goodman said, without providing any examples of guidance the city government would give casinos or hotels on how to limit coronavirus’ spread inside their facilities.

“We would never have gotten to the point we are now as the center for entertainment, conventions and sports and everything else so positive without being clean.”

When pressed by Cooper about the dangers of such a move, Goodman said “it sounds like you’re being an alarmist,” and cited her “long life” as the credentials for her thought process.

“I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I knew what it’s like to be in subways and on buses and crammed into elevators,” she said.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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