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Clark County Responds To Mayor Comments And Concerns About Reopening

There’s been a lot of debate on how Las Vegas begins to return to normal. 

Governor Steve Sisolak has said that once transmission of the coronavirus has come down significantly and hospitals are less burdened, businesses could re-open in phases. 

Mayor Carolyn Goodman, however, has been very vocal about wanting everything to open as soon as possible.

County Commissioner Michael Naft was quick to speak out against the mayor's comments.

“I felt very strongly that Las Vegas, as a brand, is too valuable to play games with and to be offering us up as some kind science experiment," he said, "Myself and my colleagues at the county are focused on how we can ensure that Las Vegas has the perception, internationally, as being the safest place to be.”

Naft said the commission is listening to medical experts and the governor when it comes to when to reopen. 

"It doesn’t help to have somebody out there spewing conspiracy theories and offering up my constituents in Clark County...as a science experiment,” he said.

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The mayor's power is very limited, as the City of Las Vegas makes up less than a fourth of the valley. The problem, Naft said, is that most people outside of Southern Nevada don't know that the Strip is in Clark County and not governed by the mayor.

But the title "Mayor of Las Vegas" holds weight.

“The international community sees that individual as the spokesperson for Las Vegas the brand," Naft said and noted that Southern Nevada as a whole has spent a lot of time and money building up that brand. 

Naft doesn't agree with Mayor Goodman about re-opening right away. He said the county is following the governor's direction.

“What I want to be clear about is we will follow the direction of the governor, the state of Nevada and the health care experts both at the state level and at the health district,” he said.

Naft said the county's economic development and business licensing departments have already started a framework for reopening businesses. The framework follows the five F's: Focused, friendly, fair, flexible and fluid.

“Our business owners have had to be fluid during this crisis and I think its incumbent on us to return that favor,” he said.

Naft said the county is already looking through ordinances and regulations to look for what could be changed to improve efficiency and efficacy for the new era ahead.

He said already the county has made changes because so many people are working from home it has found ways to modernize and improve access. For example, comprehensive planning can now be done online. 

While the county is doing what it can to be ready for when the doors reopen, the big question remains when will it happen. Some resorts on the Strip have started accepting reservations for the Memorial Day weekend, with the caveat that plans could change depending on directives by the governor.

“I’m certainly optimistic but it will be a long time before we return to business as normal – if ever," Naft said, "This is a generational event that’s going to impact people for a long time to come."

Guests

Michael Naft, commissioner, Clark County Commission

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