A couple of weeks ago, I tackled Florida and their governor’s decision to not close beaches sooner in a piece I wrote about social distancing. It seems that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t take my message or the country’s message well, as he allows for beaches around the state to reopen to the public. According to USA Today, Jacksonville Beach reopened, and even with DeSantis’ warning, Floridians flooded the beaches, ignoring social distancing precautions.
It’s not like Florida is immune to this pandemic. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Health, Florida has had more than 25,000 cases of coronavirus, and 740 Florida residents have died. While I do encourage people to get outside and enjoy the sunshine in moderate and healthy amounts, the reality is that this is a selfish act from officials in Florida.
Florida’s neighboring state proves to also be a national disgrace, as Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia started to reopen non-essential businesses Friday, April 24. No offense, Gov. Kemp, but when one of the most irresponsible presidents in U.S. history doesn’t agree with your plan, it probably isn’t the best idea.
"I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities," Trump said. "But at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right. But I disagree with him on what he's doing."
Many states in the U.S. must go through several phases of reopening businesses, including “a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases over 14 days. States should also have the capacity to treat all patients and test healthcare workers,” according to NPR.
Georgia and Florida are nowhere near this peak or downward trajectory, and their governors are acting for the sake of the economy rather than to save human lives.
Luckily, Governor Roy Cooper has formed a detailed plan in how North Carolina will slowly ease restrictions. While there have been protesters who have protested a global pandemic, Cooper ignored this and instead listened to health officials about forming his strategic plan. The News & Observer reports that his plan comes in three phases. Phase one consists of extending the stay-at-home order till at least May 8, and then, if the state is in a better direction, people will be allowed to go out more on non-essential visits.
If NC passes the checks for phase one, then phase two will begin. Phase two consists of lifting the stay-at-home order and allowing for restaurants, bars and churches to reopen, operating at reduced capacity. If North Carolina passes this check and continues to see a downward trajectory of COVID-19, phase three will begin, which will allow for businesses to operate at increased capacities. Throughout all phases, the elderly and immunocompromised are advised to stay at home, as they are the most at risk.
Govs. DeSantis and Kemp, it is time you took responsibility and didn’t put profit over people. In this time of need, your residents need a safe haven, and do not need businesses or beaches to open. It is not only morally wrong to reopen businesses but for the sake of healthcare workers, it is critical to come up with a strategic plan as North Carolina, and many other states, have formed. Nothing is worth more than a human life.