“I don’t want them to have to make these tough decisions,” she said. “But it’s their job, you know?” They have to do it.
Some local business owners I spoke with criticized state officials for not doing so sooner, criticizing them for appearing so worried about the almost certain backlash and threats to their re-election prospects that they were reluctant to take a step that would help both public health and the economy. Politicians dispute this characterization – no one is ordering an unprecedented closure of the Las Vegas Strip, they say, in an attempt to gain popularity – and argue that too much guidance on their part would only steer people away from masks and shots.
“There are better sellers than me for this vaccine,” said Naft, the county commissioner. “It must be peers. It must be health professionals. And they have to be people that people identify with in a more direct way.
There is the added difficulty that not all local officials agree on the importance of the vaccine for the recovery of the city. In her spacious office with a panoramic view of the city, Goodman, the mayor of Vegas, has a small sign on her desk: “Without facts or data, you are just another person with an opinion. But, despite study after study concluding that vaccines are effective, she says she is waiting for more facts and data on the need for mask and vaccine warrants – more evidence that, as she puts it, “would unequivocally prove that’s what we should be doing.
“I don’t think, at this point, that we are 100 percent sure that we have answers,” she told me. When asked if she would support any sort of vaccination mandate, Goodman replied that she “really can’t answer that. It’s just that we don’t have enough information.
Goodman gained notoriety early last year for calling the closings “utter madness” and for telling CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that she wanted to offer Las Vegas as a “control group” by allowing it to reopen. She doesn’t respond directly now when asked if it has become clear over the past 18 months that some restrictions were needed to get the economy going – “As soon as we found out there was a virus, you had to do wise things, ”she replied – and her office has made no comment on Biden’s decision to order the shootings. While she encourages the vaccines because that’s what the CDC tells her to do, it’s the equivalent of telling someone to get the shot to tell them to have their hair cut.
“I don’t have the right,” she said.
In the heart of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at the south end of the Strip, in front of rows and rows of neon slot machines and on the corner of the massive sportsbook, four floor-to-ceiling posters of Michael Jackson cover the wall outside the theater where the Cirque du Soleil show celebrating the life of Jackson and Career is set to reopen in late August for the first time in 18 months.
Energy is electric. A trio of women in town for a girls’ trip line up and wear matching cheetah-print masks. A young couple from Colorado postponed their return flight come back someday so they can be here. California bride and groom have just arrived from their wedding, with the woman still wearing her white dress and bouquet. A saleswoman at the Jackson souvenir store claps her hands as she walks up to another, who sells programs. “It is so exciting! ”she whines.
After months of closures, record unemployment, and an unfathomable amount of illness and death, here are signs of Las Vegas returning to its old self: a theater packed tight. Photographers take pictures of the participants on their way. A man inexplicably dressed in a Jackson outfit live broadcasting opening night, keeping an eye out for celebrities and broadcasting the event for anyone who can’t be there.
“It feels good to be back to normal – a little bit,” says Aaron Wegener, a Californian tourist in town, holding his son’s hand as they wait to have their tickets scanned.
The show is not sold out, and neither are those to come in the next few days. Participants always wear masks and are encouraged to sanitize their hands upon entering. Even still, the reopening marks an attempt to get back to normal – and a return to work for hundreds of the cast and crew, not only the dancers in the center of the stage, but the small army of trainers as well. , make-up artists, costume designers and technicians who feed the production. From the airport to the Strip, the city is covered in Circus billboards announcing “THE INTERMISSION IS OVER.”