Las Vegas Mayor Blasted For Baffling Comments On Reopening City

Carolyn Goodman advocated for reopening the city in a CNN interview on Wednesday.

Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman has come under fire after suggesting the city reopen and be “a control group" during a CNN interview that left host Anderson Cooper dumbfounded.

Goodman advocated for reopening Las Vegas businesses including casinos, restaurants, and stadiums in an interview Wednesday with Cooper. The statement came amid warnings from health experts that ending social distancing measures too soon could cause a renewed spike in coronavirus cases.

Multiple U.S. states this week have announced plans to reopen despite polls that show most Americans support social distancing measures.

“I think we’ve had viruses for years that have been here,” Goodman said. “We’ve never closed down the United States. We’ve never closed down Nevada. We’ve never closed down Las Vegas. ‘Cause that’s our job, an entertainment capital of the world.”

When Cooper rebutted that reopening the city’s businesses could pose a major public health risk, Goodman said his claims were “alarmist.” And when Cooper asked her about whether necessary health measures would be implemented if hotels and casinos reopened, Goodman said, “That’s up to them to figure out.”

Then, when Cooper asked Goodman if she believed that social distancing measures were responsible for the city’s relatively low case numbers, which make up most of Clark County’s 3,314 cases, she responded, “How do you know until we have a control group? We offered to be a control group.”

Stunned by Goodman’s response, Cooper pressed her on whether she was volunteering Las Vegas residents as a control group to see if her "theory on social distancing works or doesn’t work.”

"What I said was I offered to be a control group and I was told by our statistician 'you can't do that,'" Goodman responded. "And I said 'oh, that's too bad,' because I know when you have a disease you have a placebo that gets the water and the sugar and then you have those that actually get the shot. We would love to be that placebo."

Goodman’s comments have drawn criticism from many, including those who work in the service industry and fear returning without ample safety restrictions to protect their health.

D. Taylor, the president of UNITE Here, a union that represents 300,000 hospitality workers across the country, told NBC on Wednesday that Goodman’s comments were “one of the worst things I've heard."

“Nobody wants people to go back more than I do, but everyone wants to go back to a safe and secure workplace and not be an experiment in a petri dish," he explained.

The Culinary Union, which advocates for hundreds of thousands of Nevada hospitality workers, also noted in a Wednesday statement that 11 of its members have died because of COVID-19.

“The Mayor’s statements are outrageous considering essential frontline workers have been dealing with the consequences of this crisis firsthand,” the union stated.

And though Goodman advocated for the reopening of Las Vegas’ many casinos and businesses, she doesn’t actually have the authority to reopen them.

According to an Associated Press report, she “has no oversight of the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip because it is outside the city limits,” though it also specified that older downtown casinos near the Fremont Street district do fall within the boundaries.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak also tweeted on Wednesday that Las Vegas would reopen “when the time is right.”

Nevada has over 3,900 confirmed coronavirus cases, including over 150 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Tracker.