Local leaders, organizations respond to Mayor Goodman’s comments about reopening businesses

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Local leaders and organizations released several statements Wednesday in response to Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s recent comments about reopening Las Vegas businesses.

Congresswoman Dina Titus said:

“We have to listen to the scientists and right now they tell us we must continue to stay at home as much as possible. Businesses in Las Vegas will only be able to recover if we take this pandemic seriously. The Mayor does not represent the Las Vegas Strip, literally or figuratively.”

Congresswoman Titus (NV-1) said

Rep. Titus represents Nevada’s First Congressional District, which includes the Las Vegas Strip.

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick stated:

I understand that people are frustrated, but we must be patient. If we’re not patient, then we risk a lot more sicknesses, a lot more deaths and we risk the very real danger of our health care system being overwhelmed.

None of us who have been engaged in this conversation want to risk that and we certainly don’t want to be a “control group” for some out-of-left-field school science project. Public health and safety has to be everyone’s top priority. Most of the people in our community have taken this issue very seriously by practicing social distancing and limiting their interactions with others. As a result,  we have been able to slow the spread of the virus. However, we know that we need to be careful with the reopening of our local economy. Doing so too soon and without appropriate protective measures in place would put us all in danger.

Our governor has taken a very reasonable approach to this issue and intends to follow the advice of the federal government and Nevada medical professionals. Soon, we’ll be able to invite the world back to our city but that time isn’t here yet.”

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft issued the following statement:

Mayor Goodman’s defiance of Governor Sisolak’s stay-at-home order is reckless and dangerous. We ALL want to re-open as soon as possible. This includes the leadership of Clark County, which is home to 2.3 million residents and is the local jurisdiction over Nevada’s economic engine, the Las Vegas Strip. 

Unfortunately, every expert and every indicator says we are not there yet. Lifting the quarantine too soon would be a slap in the face of all Nevadans, especially our front-line workers who have sacrificed so much for the greater good. 

 I implore the Mayor to listen to the medical experts, to the Governor, and to all Nevadans who are focused on economic recovery, as soon as it is medically sound.”

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft

Battle Born Progress Executive Director Annette Magnus said:

The economic pain working families in Nevada are experiencing right now as a result of COVID-19 is legitimate and real. Each day, I run a food pantry to deliver food to people all over the Las Vegas community who struggle with the uncertainty and hardship more than most and desperately want a return to normal. But the reality is that because of President Trump’s incompetence and failure to prepare the nation’s health care capacity for this disease, it was up to states to take decisive action to save lives. Governor Sisolak took those difficult steps early, realizing that as an international tourist hub, our state cannot risk facilitating the spread of the virus locally and beyond by continuing as if nothing is happening. We remain in quarantine in order to build up capacity for testing and treatment of the disease, which is what medical professionals have advised.  

What Mayor Goodman said on national television today was not only foolish and ignorant but insulting to the working families who drive Nevada’s economy. In spite of having no jurisdiction over the casinos comprising the Las Vegas Strip, she suggested sacrificing the health and lives of casino workers as a demented experiment to test the veracity of the disease. She also made several deranged statements claiming the science was in dispute over the effectiveness and necessity of social distancing, testing, and contact tracing – it’s not. 

Mayor Goodman’s lack of humanity and accountability on issues affecting vulnerable people is nothing new, as demonstrated by her championing efforts to criminalize homelessness. But in the interest of preventing the spread of misinformation, the very least she could do is listen to the advice of medical experts and refrain from recklessly spreading falsehoods to a nationwide audience. We hope future Las Vegas tourists will not be deterred from visiting by the disgraceful lack of seriousness Mayor Goodman displayed today. As a native Nevadan, she has embarrassed me and our entire state again today and should be ashamed of herself.”

Battle Born Progress Executive Director Annette Magnus

Las Vegas City Councilman Brian Knudsen told 8 News Now:

As a member of the Las Vegas City Council, I can say that Mayor Goodman does not speak for everyone in the City of Las Vegas. As elected officials, we have the responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of both residents and tourists alike. Reopening the City or Clark County now is reckless and completely contrary to the overwhelming consensus of medical experts. I stand with our governor, Steve Sisolak, and our partners on the Clark County Commission in taking a science-based and incremental approach to reopening our economy.  

Las Vegas City Councilman Brian Knudsen

Culinary Union Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline wrote:

In Las Vegas, we’ve had 11 Culinary Union members die because of COVID-19. The Mayor’s statements are outrageous considering essential frontline workers have been dealing with the consequences of this crisis firsthand.

Health and safety is our priority – workers and guests have to be safe. We want people back to work, but it has to be safe and secure and we don’t want workers to be part of an experiment. Workplaces need to be safe and healthy – not a Petri dish.

The Las Vegas Strip is outside of Mayor jurisdiction. She doesn’t represent the Las Vegas Strip or the workers who are employed there. What the Mayor of Las Vegas can do to help is to encourage the casino companies to pay their workers during entire closure.

The Culinary Union supports the Governor Sisolak’s plans to protect Nevadans. We encourage listening to health experts and scientists.

The Culinary Union is majority women and people of color, and we are not expendable. Workers will be the reason we get through this pandemic and workers have to be protected. We demand it.”

Culinary Union Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline

The statements come after Mayor Goodman appeared on CNN Wednesday in an interview with Anderson Cooper. During the interview, Cooper asked the mayor about her stance on calling for businesses in Vegas to reopen and how she feels about social distancing.

When being asked how social distancing will work in a casino, Mayor Goodman responded saying it is “up to [casinos] to figure out.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper interview Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman

Below is part of the interview transcribed by CNN:

**Reporter Questions are in bold, Mayor Goodman’s responses are in italics**

Anderson Cooper/Reporting:

“When you’re talking about encouraging hundreds of thousands of people to come to Las Vegas. I get the financial losses. People are suffering, which is awful, but you’re encouraging, I mean hundreds of thousands of people coming there in casinos, smoking, drinking, touching slot machines, breathing circulated air, and then returning home to states around America and countries around the world. Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish? I mean, how was that safe?”

Mayor Carolyn Goodman/ Las Vegas:

“It sounds like you’re being an alarmist. I’m not. I’ve lived a long life. I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I know what it’s like to be with subways and on buses and crammed into elevators.”

Cooper: “Am being an alarmist?!”

Goodman: “I think you are by saying what you have just said…”

Cooper: “So you don’t believe there should be any social distancing? You don’t believe that this is…”

Goodman: “Of course I believe there should be. Of course!”

Cooper: “How do you do that in a casino?”

Goodman: “That’s up to them to figure out. I’m, I don’t own a casino. I don’t know anything about building a casino.”

Cooper: “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I’m sorry. You’re the mayor of Las Vegas. You want casinos to be open, even though you have no authority thankfully over casinos, but you say open them up, but you have no responsibility about how that would be done safely?”

Goodman: “No no no, you’re blurring… I’m not going there….”

Cooper: “You said it’s not your job.

Goodman: “I am not a private owner of a hotel. I wish I were and I would have the cleanest hotel was six feet figured out for every human being comes in there.”

Cooper: “If you can’t figure out how to do this safely, why as mayor of a city that you are responsible for the people safety…are you calling for something that you have no plan for how it would be done safely?”

Goodman: “I am not a private owner. That’s the competition in this country. The free… 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 and 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.”


Mayor Goodman declined to comment on the interview after 8 News Now reached out to her and her office.

More states are planning phased reopenings of their economies; however, public health experts have repeatedly stressed the dangers of relaxing social distancing measures too early.

As of Wednesday, Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services reports 172 deaths and over 4,000 cases.

Southern Nevada has the most cases in the state. Clark County reached 150 deaths and over 3,200 cases on Wednesday.

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