LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — While COVID-19 cases keep rising and uncertainty abounds, many people are worried we could see another shutdown.
If that were to happen, experts say it could take years for us to recover.
“It’s sort of like a square root sign, and the question is, what is going to happen next?” said Stephen Miller, professor of economics at UNLV.
Brian Labus, assistant professor at UNLV’s School of Public Health, explained, “We’ve been seeing them rise throughout the state. Northern Nevada is having the worst time right now than we are, but we’re still seeing a significant increase here in Southern Nevada.”
Labus says as cases increase, it is concerning as to what will happen next, especially with Gov. Steve Sisolak urging Nevadans to stay at home as much as possible.
“He’s asked us to do that. He hasn’t demanded it, hasn’t set requirements,” he noted. “Complete shutdown is probably the last thing that we would ever consider. We have a bunch of steps we can take up till then.”
Labus doesn’t see a complete shutdown, as we are still reeling from March’s shutdown. Miller agrees.
“If you look at the numbers for Southern Nevada, which I’ve done between February and April of this year, it was like the economy fell off the Empire State building,” said Miller. “Gross gaming revenue went from about $800-$900 million to about zero.”
Miller says per his data, we started to recover in the months of May, June and July.
Restaurants and bars, however, are still struggling and face future problems.
“So, those would likely be the first things that he would back off on and reduce those numbers before we had to take anymore extreme steps,” Labus said. “The first things we would shut down are the last things that we opened.”
Miller says COVID-19 caused more damage than the Great Recession because it happened so fast, but we are now learning how to operate in this new environment.