Updated May 6, 2020 - 1:31 pm
A Henderson council member is calling for reopening the economy.
In an open letter to the Henderson Chamber of Commerce’s CEO dated Sunday, Ward 1 Councilwoman Michelle Romero said Nevada’s efforts to stave off overwhelming the hospital system by flattening the curve have been successful.
“Mission accomplished,” she wrote. “Now is the time to let our intelligent, hardworking people get back to work, while those who are part of the still-vulnerable population continue to take shelter until such time as they feel confident their health is not at risk,” she wrote.
This way, Romero claims, a functioning economy will be available when vulnerable people feel comfortable returning to daily life. She also wrote that Nevada hospitals are now “fully prepared” to handle a surge in cases.
The councilwoman contends that if big-box stores can protect people with social distancing and sanitation, then so can small businesses. She wrote that businesses such as salons should be able to reopen by practicing social distancing, using protective equipment and “enhanced sanitation practices.”
In her letter, Romero complimented Henderson’s emergency operations center, calling its responses to the virus “the silver linings” in an uncertain time.
“On the other hand, I have also seen the worst of humanity, targeting one another with vitriol and hatred over whether or not ‘Stay at Home Orders’ are the answer,” she wrote.
Romero wrote that the longer the stay-at-home order is in place, “the impact can and will far surpass anything the virus could do.” Romero’s letter points to mass unemployment, the prospect of a severe economic downturn, and the threat of businesses closing.
“We cannot let the cure be worse than the virus,” she wrote.
Romero was not available for an interview Tuesday to elaborate on her letter.
Nevada’s stay-at-home order is in effect until May 15. Gov. Steve Sisolak wants a gradual reopening of the state’s economy, based on a downward trend in the percentages of new COVID-19 cases and a decline of hospitalizations. Counties will oversee reopening efforts.
In addition to Romero, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has repeatedly called for reopening business immediately, calling the shutdown of business “total insanity.”
COVID-19 has killed 268 people in Nevada as of Tuesday afternoon, according to state data.