Protests against stay-at-home orders happened across the country this weekend as more people push for a reopening of state economies. That includes just outside of Las Vegas in Nevada, whose stay-at-home orders were put in place on March 31.
Elsewhere, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs has rolled out a $1 million fund called the Stockton Strong Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. The money will support nonprofits that’ll help the community during the pandemic.
Today we check in with the mayors of Reno and Stockton on their efforts to manage the coronavirus and prospects for reopening of their county economies.
On balancing the wants and needs of small businesses with the need to slow the spread
Schieve: I'm a small business owner. I actually own two retail stores here in our city. So I clearly understand the anxiety that happens. Because the fear is very real on both sides. We do want to make sure again that if we are going to do the slow rollout, that everyone is paying attention to the guidelines and really following that, because we want to also make sure that we're not all going back into self-quarantine in September, October. So we really want to make sure that we're doing it thoughtfully and have a very guided approach.
Tubbs: Last week we had a tele-town hall with small business owners by the hundreds, them saying, 'let's open up, let's open up.' I get the urgency and I get the need. But I also understand as a public servant that my first priority is the safety and well-being of the community. I don't think anyone enjoys being at home and not being able to have the mobility that we're used to. I don't think anyone enjoys not being able to go to the mall or to their favorite restaurant to eat in. I don't think anyone enjoys people being laid off or people not being able to provide for the families. So this is not fun for anyone. So as soon as it's safe to open up, we will be opening up and running, but not before it's safe to do so.
On the status of testing in Reno and Stockton
Schieve: Like every city we are having complications with trying to get more testing. And so that makes it incredibly challenging. But those are the things that we're looking at. And we also want to make sure, because as you're starting to hear some of those antibody tests ... there are various ones and some can be highly inaccurate. So you want to make sure that you do this in a rollout, that approach to mass testing, that you have the exact right approach and the right kit. So we have to make sure that we take this approach that is very particular in how we do this.
Tubbs: Like every other city in this country, to open up, to allow small businesses to work again, to allow us to get back to a sense of what normal used to be, we have to have more testing. So we're thankful that last week we partnered with the governor's office and Verily to bring testing, free drive-through testing to the city of Stockton and the county of San Joaquin. With Verily we're able to do up to 200 drive through tests by appointment only a day, which is a great start from where we were in terms of free community testing. But there's so much more testing that we have to do. So this week we're talking to other testing companies and also I'm doing our best to figure out how do we increase testing capacity in our city. But like every other city, I think we're very frustrated because we were told a couple of months ago by the White House that everyone who wanted a test would get a test. And we're not there yet.
On eventually returning to normal
Schieve: I think you'll see the governor in the next day or two start to have a guideline of what cities can follow throughout Nevada, which I think will be great because I think it's going to provide clarity. And I think that businesses have to have that type of clarity of what that looks like. We have to realize that doing business is going to look very differently. It's much like when 9/11 happened, we started to travel completely differently with metal detectors and taking off our shoes and things like that. This is going to be similar in the approach that masks will be required. Social distancing will be required. Hand-washing will be required. And I think the one thing first and foremost is also getting our health care workers tested, our essential workers tested and those people that are in the community that are still surrounded by other people.