FONTANA (CBSLA) — The 15 Freeway is the gateway to gambling, taking people from the Inland Empire to Las Vegas in about three hours, but how fast do people want to hitch a ride to the casinos in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic?
“Please let us open the city of Las Vegas,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said. “Let us get back to business.”
In a controversial interview with CNN anchor/reporter Anderson Cooper, Goodman said she would like the city to reopen immediately, offering up Sin City as a test for doctors and government leaders to study what would happen if a big city reopened.
The move would allow 900,000 unemployed people in Las Vegas, mostly in the hospitality industry, to get back to work.
“But you’re encouraging hundreds of thousands of people coming there in casinos, smoking, drinking, touching slot machines, breathing circulated air,” Cooper said. “Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish? How is that safe?”
Goodman dismissed the anchor’s concerns, saying that he was being “an alarmist.”
But people were alarmed by Goodman’s proposition to reopen, even with social distancing requirements in place.
“I do not think it’s a good idea,” Rachel, a health care worker, said.
She said it would be almost impossible to control virus transmission in that kind of environment.
And Marine Corps veteran Pete Romero agreed, even though he has family members who have lost their jobs at a Las Vegas casino.
“We still need to wait this out,” he said.
Romero’s 80-year-old father also lives in Las Vegas, and he doesn’t want him setting foot near a casino.
“He’s made it this far,” Romero said. “We don’t want to lose him.”
So far, Las Vegas has lost 150 people to the novel coronavirus, but Goodman said she wants to be able to tell the 900,000 laid off workers when they’ll have their next paycheck.
“All I’m doing is asking for a plan,” she said.