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Governor announces COVID-19 task force

By Bob Conrad

LAS VEGAS — Governor Steve Sisolak today announced the creation of the COVID-19 task force aimed at mobilizing the private sector to assist with efforts to address fallout from the coronavirus. The task force will be led by Jim Murren, who said today he was stepping down as CEO of MGM Resorts effectively immediately.  

“It’s going to take all of us working together to battle COVID-19 in our State and around the country, and I’m thankful we have an ally in … Murren who will help enhance and expand our response, relief and recovery efforts,” Sisolak said.

Murren will be volunteering his time for the effort.

“There’s nothing more important right now than helping our state and each other through this crisis. I am humbled by the opportunity to help the Governor in providing relief to the many families suffering personally and economically during this difficult time,” he said. “When we defeat this pandemic, I am confident that our state will come roaring back as we have from the great hardships of the past. Working with the many committed business and community leaders in Nevada, The Nation and around the world, we will obtain important resources our State needs to fight and win this battle.”

The governor’s full statement, from an online press conference early today:

Good afternoon,

I want to start by thanking Nevadans across the Silver State who are taking this health crisis seriously and staying home for Nevada. I know this isn’t easy, but we should all be inspired by the battle born spirit that’s been on full display as we fight this invisible enemy together. You can see that spirit in…

  • Our health care workers who are fighting on the front lines every day
  • Our local health authorities managing this developing situation on the ground in your communities
  • Our first responders and law enforcement agencies collaborating and working to keep us safe
  • Our educators who are finding creative ways to support their students and provide lessons despite the obstacles
  • Our grocery store workers, truck drivers, and supply chain employees who are working to keep our shelves stocked and provide essential items to our families at this time.
  • And our state agencies and labs working around the clock to address this issue.

As Governor, these Nevadans make me proud, and they should make you proud, too.

I’ve also been inspired by the outreach we’ve received from individuals and businesses across the State and beyond who want to do their part to help tackle this health crisis and the economic impacts we’re facing as a State.

And it is inevitable that we will need to rely on both the government AND business to see us through this crisis in the best way possible, because as I mentioned in my speech just the other day, it’s on us as Nevadans to tackle this. And that requires some out-of-the-box and proactive approaches.

So you can imagine my excitement when a now-former Nevada CEO reached out to me with an idea of how we can create a structure to meet this goal.

That’s why I am thrilled to announce in coordination with my office and the Nevada Health Response Center, we are creating the COVID-19 Response, Relief & Recovery Task Force, whose work will be aimed at immediately marshalling and organizing all of Nevada’s private sector resources in support of the local and State Government’s already robust efforts to tackle COVID-19.

And since an effort is only as strong as the leader at the helm, I am also excited to announce that the COVID-19 Response, Relief & Recovery Task Force will be led by the Nevadan who helped develop this idea: former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren. Jim will begin immediately as Chair serving in an unpaid volunteer position, and has already begun the important task of putting together the leadership and assessment architecture.

The Task Force will be charged with assessing the physical assets and human capital available in the private sector, then helping organize the deployment of those resources in support of the State of Nevada and the Nevada Health Response Center efforts.

And there couldn’t be anyone better than Jim to lead this effort. Jim has unparalleled experience in managing large complex organizations in collaboration with local, state and the federal government during times of crisis for the benefit of the whole community.

His extensive and deep relationships in a wide variety of industries across the country, and the world, will allow the State to benefit from a depth of knowledge, experience, and access to resources that we otherwise wouldn’t have. He has regular contacts within Asia and the Middle East that can help advise us from their experience, and he has a relationship with Vice President Pence who is leading the White House efforts to combat Coronavirus.

Jim knows the casino and hospitality industry and its many elements inside-out: from how many beds are in each hotel, who uses what cleaning supplies, inventory management, banking structures, and everything in-between. He’s got a deep knowledge on supply chain, experience working with organized labor and how many employees have medical training.

This public-private partnership represents the best of Nevada — the belief that when we all work together, we can tackle anything.

This effort will help expand the capacity of Nevada’s health care system, enhance and provide additional access to resources, support our hard-working medical professionals and first responders, and give Nevada the additional help it needs to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

It’s going to take all of us working together to battle COVID-19 in our State and around the country, and I’m thankful we have an ally in Jim Murren who will help enhance and expand our response, relief and recovery efforts.

Please know that more information on the members and structure of the COVID-19 Response, Relief & Recovery Task Force will be coming in the future. But in the rapidly moving situation we’re facing, I didn’t want to wait another minute to let Nevadans know of this great development in our overall efforts.

Thank you for tuning in today, and remember: if home means Nevada, stay home for Nevada.

This Is Reno’s COVID-19 news coverage

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