Coronavirus and economy
Few states have faced a deeper economic hit amid the coronavirus pandemic than Nevada, which completely shuttered its tourism industry in the early weeks of the outbreak and has struggled to draw visitors to return in the months since.
With the closures, properties on the Las Vegas Strip reported a virtual 100% collapse in gaming revenue for April and May. Business remains bleak, with Nevada for months ranking among the nation’s worst unemployment rates. Several casinos still remain closed and hundreds furloughed or fully laid off.
About 68% of Nevada voters rated Nevada’s economy as fairly or very bad, according to CBS News polling, and 83% said the economy was a major factor in their vote for president, more than any other issue named.
Nearly 11% of Nevada’s workforce were estimated to be undocumented immigrants in 2016 by the Pew Research Center, the largest share of any state in the country, most working in the state’s leisure and hospitality industry.
Years of polling has shown widespread support among Nevadans for long-promised federal immigration reform, though the issue has local dimensions that have proven more divisive.
The local police department’s participation in the controversial 287(g) program, which effectively deputized some officers as immigration enforcement, drew outcry and protests. And amid the pandemic, activists have raised alarm over the treatment of detainees at ICE facilities in the state.
More than two years since the October 1, 2017 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, the deadliest such massacre in modern American history, gun control remains a hotly debated topic in the state. The attack remains a source of grief in the state, with memorials to the victims hosted this year even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But efforts by some to strengthen gun restrictions in the state in the wake of the attack have faced defiance, with some sheriffs vowing to carve out “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” Neighboring California called on Nevada to do more to limit its firearm sales last year, after a shooter attacked a Central California garlic festival using an assault weapon purchased in Nevada.