The United States is divided in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Donald Trump leads the group of those who want to reopen cities as soon as possible so that the blow to the economy is as light as possible. But against it is many governors who do not want to lift the confinement of their states for fear that the pandemic will strike their territories.
In line with the president is the mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, who this week called for the reopening of the casinos, hotels, bars and restaurants of her city as soon as possible. The problem is that it has met with the opposition of those who work in those places facing the public, people who do not want to return to work because they are afraid of contracting COVID-19.
The situation is complicated. In statements collected by NBC, Goodman said that “I want us to open the city of Las Vegas so that our people can return to work.” However, when asked about how to prioritize the safety of employees of leisure venues, the mayor was not at all clear: “It is up to them to find out. I do not have a casino.”
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With that response, the mayor was outright rejected by the UNITE Here union, which represents more than 300,000 hospitality workers across the country. Its chairman, D. Taylor, called Carolyn Goodman’s comments “one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. No one wants people to go back to work more than I do, but everyone wants to return to a safe workplace and not be an experiment.”
That feeling is perfectly embodied by Alexander Acosta, a waiter at the César Forum conference centre. For him, the mayor’s statements do not make sense: “We are not testing subjects. We are people. We are employees. We try to live every day as we can. We should not be guinea pigs.”
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday that Las Vegas would reopen “when the time is right. We are working 24 hours to make sure we are not only the most fun destination in the world but the safest”. However, he did not dare to give a fixed date on which that reopening would take place.
Nevada is not one of the states most affected by COVID-19, as it has 4,081 confirmed cases and a total of 172 people died. However, it is the destination of 40 million annual visitors from the United States and the rest of the world, so it could become one of the major sources of infection worldwide if the appropriate preventive measures are not taken.