By The Signal Editorial Board
Flatten the curve, we’re all for it. The members of this editorial board have been working from home for the last two months and not going outside. In fact, most of our newspaper’s staff has been working from home, so we are doing our part. We “believe in science,” but somewhere along the way the objectives changed, the goal posts were moved, use any analogy you want, but what we were told is NOT what is happening.
It seems now we must shelter at home with businesses closed until the coronavirus is gone or we have a vaccine.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, “We’ll never be completely open until we have a cure.”
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s Public Health director, recommended business be closed for another three months — at least. Because, as she said, there’s no expiration date on the county’s public health officer order.
And, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, says many schools should not open next year.
That was all said this week.
What happened to flattening the curve? We believe in science, but you can’t take all the risks out of life. We now have enough ventilators, tests and hospital beds to handle the sick. Yes, we have flattened the curve. There may never be a cure, and we can’t wait until we find one to go back to work. There may not be any work left.
It’s time to start opening up and get back to work.
When the state of Georgia opened all business about 10 days ago, we thought just like everyone else that it was too soon and they would have a spike in cases, but you know what? After 10 days of opening everything up, but taking precautions and using social distancing, Georgia’s number of new cases has declined.
In addition, approximately 25% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to nursing homes. The nursing homes should be protected, watched and regulated, but if you are not in a high-risk category of having an underlying medical condition or over 65 years old, you should be able to go out into the world with social distancing precautions and wearing a mask.
From the beginning, some business were allowed to stay open — essential medical services, food stores, banks, media, etc.
On May 8, L.A. County opened up some businesses previously deemed non-essential, while leaving others closed. Auto dealers were opened, and retailers like bookstores, flower shops, music stores and toy stores could open but only with curbside pickup.
This week the county opened up trails, parks, golf courses, outdoor museums and most retail businesses, but again the retailers can only offer curbside pickup. No in-store customers allowed.
How can a bookstore really be open if you can’t go in and browse? How many people know what book they want before going? How can you shop for clothes or shoes without going in?
The so-called reopening of businesses is a sham. It’s a publicity stunt to make people think they are opening up. To make you think we’re making progress, but we’re not. It’s really not much different than seven weeks ago.
They did it to ease the political pressure. Most of these business are not really “open.” Not if you can’t go in and see what they offer to sell and browse their store.
Yet the big-box stores that sell food are open. They are open for everything and sell everything. People can go into Walmart and buy a book, but you can’t go into a book store on Main Street.
You can buy clothes at Target, but not the little store in Canyon Country. You can buy shoes at Walmart, but not Footlocker.
And heaven help you if you own a shop in an indoor mall. Those are still closed.
There’s an inherent lack of equity in how these businesses are treated. If it’s “safe” to wear a mask and go into Walmart or Costco, with crowds limited to enhance social distancing, why wouldn’t it be “safe” to allow mom-and-pop shops and malls to do the same?
Yes, some of us should still stay home — particularly the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Yes, we need to wear masks. Yes, we need to take precautions and practice social distancing. Yes, businesses need to be responsible and sanitize their locations and make sure everyone is safe.
But it’s time to go back to work.