Las Vegans on Wednesday trashed Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s suggestion that city residents would love to be a “control group” to see how ending Nevada’s coronavirus lockdown would affect the spread of the new coronavirus.
“We would love to be that placebo side so you have something to measure against,” she said during a wild interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday.
“We’re not going to have our workers, and frankly the guests they serve, be a petri dish,” D. Taylor, president of national union UNITE HERE, which includes the Culinary Workers’s Union in Las Vegas, told The Daily Beast. The union represents 60,000 housekeepers, restaurant, and bar workers, and other staff that keep the Las Vegas Strip running.
“I think it’s outrageous to have a scenario where people would have to choose between a job and their life,” he added. “Of course we want people to get back to work, of course we want people to look after themselves, but we’re not going to set up a situation where someone risks their life just to go to work. I thought we passed that era back in the Industrial Age but I guess not for the mayor.”
Goodman, an 81-year-old third-term independent mayor, said earlier this week that the state’s lockdown is “total insanity” and has advocated for removing closures and restrictions on casinos, restaurants, and other businesses.
The Vegas Culinary Union has already lost 11 members to the novel coronavirus. Across Nevada, there have been at least 4,081 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 187 deaths, state health officials said on Wednesday. There were nine deaths on Tuesday alone.
Nevada businessman Stephen Cloobeck, founder of timeshare company Diamond Resorts, asked Goodman: “Madam, who do you choose to die?”
“Obviously you think Nevadans have a price on their life,” he posted on Twitter. “I thought life was priceless.”
SEIU Local 1107, a union representing health-care workers in Nevada including 9,000 nurses and hospital staff, blasted Goodman’s suggestion.
“To suggest that we should endanger more lives by treating Las Vegas like a guinea pig in some wild experiment betrays a profound level of ignorance of the current situation,” a spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
Goodman, wife of former mayor and mob lawyer Oscar Goodman, does not have the power to reopen the casinos, clubs, restaurants, and entertainment venues that line the Las Vegas Strip because the thoroughfare falls outside city limits.
And she did not seem too enthused about participating in her own Darwinian experiment, either. When asked on CNN if she’d head to the casinos every night to “put your money where your mouth is,” Goodman initially dodged the question, then said it was a ridiculous suggestion.
“First of all, I have a family,” she said, adding that she didn’t gamble anymore and she was very busy, too.
She said the city’s statistician also turned down her offer to make Las Vegas a control group.
State and city officials who oversee the Strip also shut down her suggestion. Justin Jones, a member of the Clark County Commission, which oversees the Strip, called Goodman “an embarrassment” while Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), whose district encompasses the Strip, urged constituents to follow the advice of scientists, the Associated Press reported.
Nevada’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, said on Wednesday night that the vast majority of residents were desperate return to work but supported the stringent statewide lockdown on all non-essential businesses.
“We are clearly not ready to reopen,” he said. “I will not allow the citizens of Nevada to be used as a control group, as a placebo, whatever she wants to call it.”
Several states, including Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas, have announced plans to allow some businesses and venues to reopen this week in a limited capacity.