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Safely Reopening America

Rock Hill, SC, May 19, 2020

Here’s the debate: (A) Should we be taking measured, reasonable steps to re-open America and get people safely back to work, knowing this path must be monitored very closely and isn’t without some risk? Or (B) should we extend efforts to keep Americans at home and “non-essential” businesses closed, knowing the financial damage this will cause to American families and our economy?

The truth is the earliest likelihood for the widespread availability of any vaccine is probably next year. And while there are many therapies / treatments in various stages of development, all of this takes time. These facts (and many more) indicate we’ll be on heightened alert at least through the rest of 2020 and into early next year.

That is ENTIRELY too long for much of our economy to remain shuttered. We need to be allowed to safely go about our everyday lives during this pandemic, exercising caution of course, and participating in whatever activities each of us is individually comfortable with. And we must recognize that data-driven adjustments will likely be needed along the way.

But friends, it is not “leadership” to suggest non-essential businesses remain closed. In fact, this is overreaching and problematic on so many levels. Not the least of which is it assumes our safety nets, which are already stretched far beyond their scope and capacities, can outlast this pandemic. That is a dangerously flawed and reckless assumption.

Nobody’s suggesting we throw caution to the wind, force people into unsafe situations, or lose focus on our prevention efforts. However, the likely duration of this pandemic means the second option (above) could leave countless MILLIONS of middle- and lower-income families in financial ruin, and be catastrophic to our nation’s long-term economy.

Based on everything we currently know, it is irresponsible to stand in the way of business owners who have the ability and desire to safely reopen under proper guidelines, even if that business is “non-essential.” And it’s inappropriate to prevent Americans who cannot work remotely – but who are willing to strictly adhere to prevention measures – from earning a living. In fact, it’s cruel.

It’s time to reopen America.

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