Las Vegas unveils ‘social distancing squares’ for the homeless, instead of actual shelters

During the coronavirus pandemic many of us are having to adapt our lives in ways we wouldn’t have imagined a few months ago.

The fact of the matter is that almost us all of us have to sacrifice things just now for the greater good. And compared to the sacrifices made by our ancestors at certain points in history, the things many of us are giving up are, well … not that big a deal.

Even so, there are certain members of our societies that are feeling the sting of COVID-19’s rampage more than others. Take our homeless people, for example, whose lives are even more uncertain than usual.

In some communities, homeless people are being afforded shelter and food by organizations determined not to forget them. Sadly, this isn’t the case everywhere.

As per reports, Las Vegas – one of the world’s top 10 hotel-rooms-per-capita cities – have answered the crises with a solution that has attracted criticism: to paint social distancing lines in a concrete parking lot.

A nearby homeless shelter had closed due to a man testing positive for coronavirus, thus evicting the residents. They were forced to move to a nearby parking lot where officials had laid out a grid of painted lines to stop them sleeping too close to one another.

As per AP, city spokesperson Jace Radke said that the parking lot deal was an “emergency situation.”

“The marked squares are to help meet social distancing requirements,” he continued. “We’ll continue to provide this temporary respite, while practicing necessary social distancing, for anyone who is suffering from homelessness.”

The stark truth of the matter is that 208 people slept in a parking lot on Monday. At the same time, thousands of hotel rooms across the city were left empty.

The city tweeted that a new shelter is being constructed and is expected to be finished by April 6, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that making people sleep outside in a concrete parking lot when there are warm beds under roofs just metres away is unacceptable to me.

How is it that Las Vegas, so quick to boast of its riches and extravagance, can’t put up empty rooms for those who need them with the country facing what it’s facing? The city is a playground for the obscenely rich, and not one of them can help? Not one of them can offer up hotel rooms that are otherwise city empty and unused?

I for one don’t like the sight of people sleeping inside marked out squares in a parking lot when there are rooms close by that could be used.

We’re all facing difficulties as a result of coronavirus, but now is the time to pull together, not apart. History will remember how we reacted when the chips were down, so let’s make sure we’re remembered well.

Share this article if you think people sleeping in parking lots should simply not be happening.