Demonstrators in at least 10 states have gathered across the country, calling for state governments to “re-open America” amidst the ongoing global pandemic. From California to New Jersey, these protesters underscore how antsy Americans are getting for the stay-at-home orders to end, allowing them to return to some level of normalcy. But, when is the right time?
Though some demonstrations were lightly attended, many citizens took to the streets of their state capitals of California, Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee and Washington to voice their concerns to government officials.
Protesters were seen waving signs accusing government officials of “tyranny,” claiming state governments are out to “ruin” their states. Many mask-less citizens proudly disregarded social distancing guidelines in order to exhibit that their government cannot “control” them, accusing the government of restricting their freedoms. A protest at the Michigan capital even led to a group-orchestrated gridlock that blocked an ambulance that was on its way to a nearby hospital.
Many are voicing their frustrations in regard to how much damage the lockdown orders are doing to state economies. New Jersey protestor Ayla Wolf gave the following statement to NJ.com:
Businesses are suffering, unemployment checks are not being sent, landlords are not getting rent. We feel like these directives are causing more suffering than is necessary.
State governments are hesitant as to when the right time will be to re-open the economy and allow everyone to go back to their normal lives. Despite the spreading protests, several governors have stood behind their initial decision that states will begin to reopen once sufficient progress to combat the virus is shown, warning constituents not to make this issue political.
The issue itself is a complicated one, as over 1.1 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus and over 66,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University’s dataset. Reopening too soon could cause a resurgence in the number of cases, possibly leading to similar lockdowns in the fall.
White House Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that “lifting measures prematurely could lead to a rebound of the virus that could put the United States in the same boat that we were in a few weeks ago,” possibly undoing the progress we have slowly been making in lessening the infection curve.
Yet, the longer the economy stays closed, the more damage is being done, as the number of Americans filing for unemployment has reached nearly 30 million.
Slowly, though, some states have begun to lift restrictions on citizens, ranging from simply opening state parks to allowing certain businesses to restart. These states will likely set the precedent for the rest of the country, as many office buildings and stores will be limited to 50% of their usual capacity.
The situation is one of uncertainty related to what is the right thing to do and what is the wrong thing to do, as we have never faced a situation like this in U.S. history. There are pros and cons to each side, and no doctor or government official has a definite answer as to what should be done.