Scoot: Is it time to open businesses and tell some to stay home?

May 04, 2020 - 1:21 pm

As more states across the country begin to loosen restrictions and allow businesses to open - some are sounding the alarm that it’s too soon and that we should expect to see the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths to spike in a couple of weeks. But some are celebrating to reopening of businesses and argue that it’s time to let people go back to work while urging the elderly and those with underlying conditions to stay home and wear a mask whenever going out.

Both sides seem certain that their approach is right and is best for the American people. Is there logic in working toward businesses reopening with warnings to the elderly and those with underlying conditions to stay home and wear a mask whenever they must go out?

It has been argued that herd immunity is needed to get beyond the acute fear of the coronavirus and reach a point where the population can better tolerate the presence of the disease - which is expected to never totally disappear.

This weekend - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards allowed all restaurants to open if they could provide outdoor seating. At Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon Restaurant in Metairie there were two tents set up in the parking lot with tables. Saturday afternoon - most of the tables were taken by customers that had gone inside the restaurant to order food, but carrying it outside to sit and each and enjoy with family or friends. The tables were clearly separated by what appeared to be 6 feet. I witnessed that scene shortly after going to a grocery store and found the dining outdoors to maybe be safer than going to the grocery.

If businesses open - you don’t have go. If you are afraid of getting sick or if you are elderly or have underlying health conditions then stay home - but it seems the time is right for a logical approach to allowing some businesses to open.

Social distancing and wearing masks may be a consolation to businesses opening. And the way some people act in grocery stores - it’s not like the grocery is a pristine environment void of the threat of COVID -19.

But many vehemently oppose wearing masks and have turned the debate into a political debate. In Stillwater, Oklahoma, officials suddenly changed the new rule requiring all customers to wear masks after threats of violence and verbal abuse were directed at employees of the stores. One threat included gun violence.

There can be disagreement when it comes to requirements to wear masks - but that should never lead to threats of violence.

Frustrations are growing - but that is no reason to submit to the path of least resistance. We should do what’s best for all of us, and there is a balance between protecting the economy through restrictions and allowing businesses to play the part they play in the American economy.

It is crucial for us to suck it up and do what we have to do - regardless of the inconvenience - but there needs to be a plan to start opening some businesses with the responsibility of wearing masks or face coverings and social distancing left up to the consumers. Businesses could maintain strict rules about whether customers wear masks and how many customers can be in the business at any given time.

If we - the people - are responsible - more businesses can open. The idea that businesses cannot open is predicated on the assumption that the American people cannot be responsible, and that is an unsettling commentary on our society.

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