LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The city of Las Vegas is hurting and what used to be a mecca for conventions, sports and entertainment has now "stopped dead," due to closures expedited by the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Carolyn Goodman told FOX5 Thursday.
The Goodmans have been in the valley since the 60s. To witness a thriving economy built on tourism suffer "more than breaks" Goodman's heart, she said.
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Unemployment numbers are staggering. During Nevada Gov. Sisolak's April 14 address, he said at least 300,000 Nevadans had filed for unemployment claims. Nationally, $350 billion in small business availability loans were depleted.
"It's a very, very sad look," Goodman said of empty streets and silent casinos.
"FEAR IS CONSUMING"
The reaction to COVID-19 serves as a callback to Goodman's childhood, she said.
Born in 1939, Goodman was a bystander to the polio outbreak of the early 1950s.
"It was there and no one understood it," Goodman said.
The Center for Disease Control outlined the history of polio as follows:
"Parents were frightened to let their children go outside, especially in the summer when the virus seemed to peak.
Travel and commerce between affected cities were sometimes restricted."
According to the CDC, the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979 thanks to vaccines created in the decades prior.
"The fear was consuming the entire country. It was everywhere," Goodman said. "Since then, we've had virus after virus; we've never shut down."
In Las Vegas, all nonessential businesses shuttered following a gubernatorial directive March 17. This Friday, a month will have passed since the closure news shook the valley.
WE BUILT THIS CITY
Goodman believes the abundance of caution Nevada has taken is misguided, as there is no crystal ball-evidence to suggest when it's "safe" to reopen.
"We know what we have built here, all of us together," Goodman said. "All we ask is please give us the opportunity to get back to work ... to earn an honest dollar and be able to support our grandparents, and support our parents and support our children."
"Please open us up," Goodman said in a please to Gov. Sisolak. "Let's go forward. Do it now. Give (them) an opportunity to earn a living" because there is no guarantee of when a vaccine will be developed or the virus under control.
THE WHO AND THE WHY
She detailed the plight of the community by recounting heartbreaking phone calls and stories of families barely scraping by. For Las Vegas, hospitality is the lifeblood of the town. Goodman cited security detail, housekeepers, maintenance workers, etc. as "the very heart beat" of every property in Las Vegas.
"Give us the right to live our lives," Goodman said. "Let Las Vegas come back to be the convention and hospitality center that is is."