Several hundred Nevadans took part in dual protests in Carson City and Las Vegas Saturday to put a stop to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s closing of non-essential businesses and his continuing stay-at-home directive in response to coronavirus.
Organized by an informal organization called, “Reopen Nevada Group” hundreds of Las Vegas participants assembled at the Sawyer Building. In Carson City, hundreds more were located near state government offices by the capitol.
Protestors also drove their cars by the crowds and honked horns. Many activists were outside holding picket signs and American flags.
Some signs called for recalling Sisolak, a Democrat, while others supported President Donald Trump.
Organizers said on a Facebook page, the rally attempted “to show our disappointment in the ‘governor’ Regarding his drastic and tyrannical decisions affecting our state!”
At one of the Nevada rallies, one picket sign said, “Life is Freedom We Have Right To Live It ‘Mayor Goodman.’” Another said. “To Be Vegas Strong. We Must Open Now.” A third said, “The Only Deadly Virus is Sisolak!!! ” and on the other side said, “Even The Pharaoh Freed the Hebrews During A Plague.”
Participants were heard shouting, “Four more years” – an apparent reference to support a second term for Trump. Many wore Trump hats or shirts.
Most rally attendees were not wearing masks or gloves. Many were standing close to one another, too.
On the group’s Facebook site, Tirena Jones-Cpa recalled how she “watched Nevada business be decimated in 08. It’s obscene to me that Congress is holding small business hostage for politics and not funding the SBA paycheck loans…. We must be heard!!! businesses need to open and have funds to do so!”
The Nevada event builds on similar conservative movements in other states to quickly reopen each state’s businesses. Nationally, the most prominent protest was held this week in Lansing, Michigan. It was directed at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home directive.
Nevada organizers posted on their Facebook site: “Michigan did it! So can we! Fight for Nevada!”
Organizers of Nevada’s event plan to hold another rally on May 2. It is scheduled for between 11 am to 4 pm. in Carson City.
Trump Encourages Protestors
On Friday, President Trump encouraged reopen groups nationally in his tweets against restrictions in some states.
“I think elements of what they’ve done are just too tough,” Trump said at a White House press briefing about state limitations on reopening. He had tweeted “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” earlier on Friday.
In recent days, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called the Nevada shutdown “total insanity.”
“This shutdown has become one of total insanity in my opinion, for there is no backup of data as to why we are shut down from the start, no plan in place how to move through the shutdown, or how even to come out of it,” Goodman told the City Council on Wednesday.
Under Sisolak’s order, nonessential Nevada businesses are closed at least through April 30. He could extend the order.
Murren Emphasizes COVID-19 Testing
This week, Jim Murren, the former MGM Resorts International CEO and chairman who is now chair of Nevada’s COVID-19 task force, told KVVU that testing for the virus will be an important step for the reopening of Nevada businesses, including those in Las Vegas.
“It’s very clear that the testing capacity in this state is inadequate,” Murren said in an interview on Friday with the TV station. “That’s not because people don’t want to, it’s because we don’t have the supplies for those particular labs.”
He wants to see several labs statewide. He also wants the state to test hundreds of thousands of Nevada residents.
For Nevada casinos, Murren predicts a slow roll out. It would be like how Macau is reopening.
“There are temperature checks at the points of entry to the resorts, people are wearing PPE, they’re wearing masks and other protective equipment,” Murren explained. “They’re social distancing in terms of spacing people on table games as well as on slot machines. Some of the venues are not open such as theaters, large concert venues, night clubs.”
Murren also disagreed with Goodman’s comments. “I think she’s wrong,” Murren said. “I think science and the medical experts have to lead this way. I understand the economic tragedy.”
Las Vegas casino executives and union leaders are banding together to decide which safety measures should be implemented when the properties are permitted to reopen.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Clark County were 2,882 as of Saturday. There were 133 deaths from the outbreak.