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Las Vegas mayor calls closure of nonessential businesses 'total insanity'

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn GoodmanCarolyn GoodmanMore than 500 visitors to Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19 since June: officials  Roy Horn of magic duo Siegfried & Roy dies of coronavirus Las Vegas mayor who offered to reopen city as 'control group' faces recall effort MORE (D) on Wednesday called for Nevada Gov. Steve SisolakSteve SisolakDemocratic North Las Vegas mayor to join GOP White House asks governors for help with Johnson & Johnson vaccine Here's who's eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in each state MORE (D) to reopen nonessential businesses shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the sweeping closures have become “total insanity.”

“This shutdown has become one of total insanity in my opinion, for there is no backup of data as to why we are shut down from the start. No plan in place how to move through the shutdown or how even to come out of it,” Goodman said during a city council meeting.

Goodman cited experts she has spoken with, saying that the the coronavirus or a derivative will simply “be part of what we work through going forward,” arguing it was time to reopen the city.

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“We cannot keep our heads in the sand and think it’s going to go away,” she said. “We’re adults with brains who can know what to do to wash our hands, to take all precautions not to spread this disease.”

The mayor pointed to the Sin City’s typically thriving convention and tourism industry, saying the mandated closures are “killing us already.”

“The longer we wait to do this the more impossible it will become to recover and return to the home we all know and love,” she said.

On April 1, Sisolak ordered residents to stay home and extended statewide closure of schools and nonessential private businesses until the end of the month.

Councilman Cedric Crear, a business owner whose aunt died from coronavirus, on Wednesday acknowledged that the city should assist businesses during the pandemic but said, “I also think it’s important that we do follow the regulations and follow the guidelines that our health care professionals are laying out for us because one death is too many.”

Crear advocated for the continuation of social distancing initiatives, noting that the number of infections could rise when coronavirus testing becomes more available.

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As of Thursday, 3,321 people in Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19 and 137 people have died. An estimated 2,625 cases have been reported in Clark County, where Vegas is located. 

A recent study from Oxford Economics found that Nevada and Florida are among the states most vulnerable to an economic shock from the pandemic, due to factors like much of the population being older than the age of 65 and the local economy depending on retail sales and tourism. 

City manager Scott Adams told The Las Vegas Review-Journal that the city will face a deficit of nearly $150 million over the next 18 months due to closures. 

It could receive an estimated $160 million in aid from the congressional stimulus bill, but Adams told the outlet that it is unclear when funding will arrive.

“If there’s ever a time where the old saying, ‘show me the money,’ applies, it’s right now,” Adams said.