At the onset of Covid, our leaders were right to hit the ‘pause’ button. We needed more information and we needed to assess trends. We have done so.
It is time to start opening the economy in South Carolina.
Many have strong opinions on this, whether because of civil liberty, the economy, or safety concerns. Many still, will simply disagree out of fear. Some are posturing while others are seeking to lead, but it’s critical that we seek solutions for not only the here and now, but for the next few months and years to come as we recover and plan for future crises.
I respect all of these positions. However, social and mainstream media seem more interested in encouraging the dismissal of differing views than truly listening to all those impacted and finding solutions to emerge from this crisis.
The Federal Government has more than saddled our future generations with a mountain of debt they will never pay off. Many small businesses fear permanent closure and some will never be seen again – losing something they’ve put their lives into.
I want to go eat at my favorite restaurant tomorrow, but if they can only open at 20%, is that really sustainable for his/her business?
In time of crisis or not, evaluations on public policy must be made with varying perspectives. In this case, decisions about how we proceed should not be made unilaterally by scientists and healthcare professionals. Likewise, decision-making should not be reserved for economists and business leaders. And no decisions should be made by either without reliable data and the greater good in mind.
What is needed is a prudent arbitration of views. In this case, the path leads to reopening.
Families are faced with unthinkable financial hardships. Make no mistake – the resulting factors can have negative impacts on families for generations. While teachers are giving it their all and doing a phenomenal job, quality instruction in schools has been put on indefinite hold. Our most vulnerable populations aren’t receiving critical services, and people are not seeking care for traditional medical issues, which left untreated can cause more serious sickness and death. We are now seeing food shortages, and shortages of vaccine supplies for other diseases are anticipated. State and local governments are seeing massive losses in revenue, resulting in compromised public services. Citizens are being unlawfully prohibited from access to public resources.
This should not be an uncontrolled re-opening, but there are clearly areas that must be treated differently.
New York has seen an infection rate of over 1,217 per 100,000 and 23,232 expected deaths. Clearly, New York should be handled differently than South Carolina, which has a projected infection rate of 136 per 100,000 and 283 expected deaths.
There are ways to both follow the guidelines of the healthcare communities and ensure our long-term economic success. These guidelines are simple and not in conflict.
1. We must ensure a pipeline for widespread testing for both Covid and antibodies.
2. Individuals of advanced age or underlying medical issues should stay home and be vigilant. Those feeling sick should contact healthcare providers or a tele-health providers and follow their guidance.
3. If you are out in public, use common sense. Wear a mask, wash your hands regularly, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. We should still observe proper physical distancing protocols, and we must be responsible for our actions and respectful of those around us.
4. If you lead a business, you should implement every possible technique to protect your employees and your customers. Work remotely when possible. Those that can operate safely, should.
We will achieve more together than separated. There remain thousands of businesses that can safely and effectively operate today. Many South Carolinians can safely resume some, or all, of their daily activities and can be accomplished with little risk.
We must further commit to our ongoing obligation to make this state and this country the shining example to the world. South Carolina must be open for business.