There seems to be a disagreement between people across the country, and indeed across the world. Is now the time to reopen the economy?
On one side are frustrated protesters, select governors and other politicians, and business owners. Their argument focuses on the economy.
With non-essential businesses shuttered, many small businesses that are crucial to the local economy are not in operation. As a result, the employees that work there are not getting paid, and many of them don’t have much money saved.
This could have catastrophic effects. Those individuals can’t buy food, so their families go hungry or rely on local food banks to eat. Their rent or mortgage doesn’t doesn’t get paid, and those losses accumulate up the financial chain.
Similarly, other medical conditions aren’t treated, which hurts individual health. Property and income taxes aren’t collected, starving local government. In turn, this impacts the prospects for longer-term services. Moreover, the fear over health and financial concerns could exacerbate mental health problems.
On the other side, there is already a huge death toll. In just a few months, more people have died than in the entirety of the years-long Vietnam war. Opening up the community could mean that number could easily double or triple if more people spread the disease. Our health care system is already in crisis in hard-hit areas.
Also, the people likely to be hardest hit are those with the least ability to withstand it. Poor communities, particularly those with high minority populations, are already dying in higher percentages, and that is likely to continue. Those who are already unhealthy, infirm, or immune-compromised will bear the medical and financial brunt.
And to reopen the economy may not do any good if people are afraid to leave their house. Restaurants, for example, can open. However, if most tables are empty every night because most people staying home, they will go out of business anyway.
Ultimately, where do you stand on this issue? Do we need to stay closed for the good of the community? Or open up for the same?
Related questions: What local businesses do you look forward to patronizing? How will the economy be impacted by COVID-19? COVID-19?
3 thoughts on “Is Now The Time To Reopen The Economy?”
I’m not an expert. Decisions like these should be left to the experts.
That is why I am proud to have Governor Tim Walz and the Department of Health’s Commissioner Jan Malcolm steering the boat in Minnesota’s effort to figure out when and how to reopen our economy. Governor Walz says he is making his decisions based on science and public health data, and for the most part I believe him. The question is not a simple reopen or not. The state leaders are gradually opening up the economy based on the ability of industries and other sectors of the economy to set up for and practice social distancing, amongst many other things.
Now, if I didn’t know what the experts were saying, I feel like things across the country, including Minnesota, should have started differently. Many people are experiencing cabin fever. While this would have happened no matter what, I believe part of the pent up feeling is based on expectations. There have been earlier dates where the Governor had announced he would decide when certain parts of the economy would open up and when people could act with greater personal freedom. Some sectors of the economy opened, others did not; some activities became more acceptable (if one was wearing a mask), others remained in the not recommended categories. This has left many Minnesotans frustrated as decision points have passed, and still, the restrictions feel too tight. For that reason, I wish things would have started with much greater sternness and much later projected dates for reopening the economy — say mid-June — for everything unless the data said otherwise. This would have led to people feeling more grateful when parts of the economy opened up earlier than expected — at least I think so.
Of course, for all of this to work, the federal government should have and be doing more to support those who’ve lost their jobs or were furloughed. States and local governments should have already received financial help as state and local tax collections have taken a nosedive. States can’t run deficits; the federal government can. Without federal support, states will have to cut many essential services.
And this, it must be noted, will impact the communities already suffering — and dying — at disproportionate rates: communities of color, poor communities, and those with compromised health conditions.
While this is not part of the question, COVID-19 has laid bare the underlying injustices of our current system. We see it. Will we do anything about it? That is why I don’t care to see a return to “normal.” The prior normal was unjust — even deadly — for the communities noted above.
I agree…Gov. Walz is doing an amazing job protecting MN given the resources and information he has available to him.
Personally, as long as the numbers continue to rise, I will continue to shelter in place despite businesses/ restaurants opening. I prefer to watch the second wave of illness from my home. I do plan to continue curb side pick up for groceries and other goods. It’s a service I’ve come to love! It is quick, convenient, and virus or not, something I plan to continue in the future.
Mostly, I agree that had Gov. Walz create a timeline that was a bit more realistic Into June our expectations would not have been crushed over and over again. In my opinion pushing the timeline back time after time has led to frustration and distrust. Had he said June we all would have prepared mentally and financially for “the long haul” and like you said, been happy when changes come ahead of schedule. Now it just creates disappointment.
To me, this is straightforward. Government lacks the power to make COVID-19 less fatal. But it has plenty of capacity to make unemployment less fatal.
Keep business closed until it’s safe, and repair the safety net.