POINT: When Should America Reopen?


Caeli Willard

Nonessential businesses continue to remain closed until further notice.

Josie Krupens, Opinions Editor

   As our time in quarantine due to COVID-19 grows longer, seemingly with no end in sight, many people have become increasingly uneasy, wondering when public places, businesses, and states will finally reopen. With the recent protests in several areas, including downtown San Diego, ordering the government to lift the closures, the loosening of the stay-at-home orders in some states, and paranoia over a failing economy, many are left wondering: when can everything reopen? As of now, it is not in our best interest, nor is it safe.

   One of the most important things to consider in times like these are those at serious risk, not the economy. According to the World Health Organization, though COVID-19 is mild for most people, it can be fatal for others. “Older people, and those with preexisting medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are at risk for severe disease” (npr.org). The order to shut down nonessential businesses and close states and public areas lessens the chance that someone will come in contact with the virus and spread it to someone who is more vulnerable to the symptoms. It is essential to protect these people, and that will happen by keeping everything closed down. The economy can recover, but those who have COVID-19 and are extremely susceptible to serious symptoms may not.

   Though the curve is flattening in some areas of the United States, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to reopen. According to Time Magazine, “A flattened curve suggests some measure of control over the situation, but no one should be too happy with a large number of new infections every day, even if that number is constant” (time.com). If businesses are reopened too soon, it is likely the cases will spike again due to more people outside of their homes, interacting with each other, as the virus does not disappear because we flattened the curve. Reopening should be considered after the number of cases decline each day. Policymakers should be playing it safe when it comes to COVID-19 and waiting until the data is more promising, not rushing to reopen everything in order to benefit the economy.

   Though it is true that the business shutdown is hurting the economy, a pandemic is doing and will continue to do the exact same thing. According to the New York Times, “Policymakers will need patience: Restarting activity too quickly could risk a second spike in infections that could deal more damage than the first because it would shake people’s faith in their ability to engage in even limited amounts of shopping, dining or other commerce” (nytimes.com). The two scenarios businesses are faced with are no business for a shorter amount of time, or severely limited business for a longer amount of time due to a dragged-out pandemic. Any way someone looks at it, a pandemic is not good for the economy, so why not take the steps to make sure the pandemic runs its course as fast as possible? “Although closing down businesses will affect their owners’ and workers’ livelihoods, the sooner we take control of the pandemic, the sooner the businesses can return as a whole while saving as many lives as possible,” explained Junior Naama Mazor.

   Additionally, a study found that “…cities that took more aggressive steps to curb the 1918 flu pandemic in the United States emerged with stronger economies than cities that did less” (nytimes.com). It would be better for the economy long term, as shown by historical evidence, if states keep their strict closure orders. The economy will rebound.

   It is clear that people crave the return to normalcy; the angry protesters violating health orders on the streets have shown it. Everyone is going through a blatantly traumatic experience that is keeping tensions high and causing anxiety. However, it is important that we remain focused on the task at hand: ending this pandemic as soon as we can. The sooner we do that, the sooner things will return to normal.