Covid-19 US death toll keeps rising with states reopening and more people moving around. CNN 5/10/2020
If Gov. David Ige were to appoint me to head a Re-Open Hawaii Task Force, there would be a few happy entrepreneurs, a lot of unhappy ones, and he’d be physically removed from office.
Our economy would go through nearly a year of tears, our students would lose a year of school and our personal savings would disappear, but so would this persistent coronavirus called SARS-Cov2.
Instead, we’ll likely start re-opening this month and appease the growing hostility toward the harsh government proclamations and say that some more deaths are the price for paying the rent, workers’ salaries, and getting back to educating our children.
A gambler should bet on the virus coming back from its current very low level of new infections. That’s exactly what’s happened in Seoul, Korea, and they’ve had to close the bars and nightclubs and may soon add to that emergency list.
We’ve been hard on bars and hotels and general retail shops. But not on Costco and Walmart, liquor stores, food markets, and even the Gun Shop on Sand Island Access Road. Those are all “essential”, as are hardware stores and construction projects.
But we’ve devastated the hair, nail and pedicure salons and the exercise gyms. Restaurants are limited to take-out.
I’d keep many of the closed places closed. It is foolhardy to reopen places that put a lot of customers in cramped spaces, even with masks. We’re already too loose. If you shop at Times Waialae-Kahala, you know the aisles are maybe 6-feet wide at most and if you want popular items like pastas and produce you’ll not be practicing social distancing.
We could safely open more if all shops had a customer-limit enforcer and hired extra help to wipe down everything that’s been touched. You can’t be allowed to try on clothes somebody else just tried on.
To open hotels would require some mandatory quarantining upon arrival at the airport. It would be deadly to just let tourists in after a quick check with a temperature gun.
Maybe some restaurants would follow the lead of the one in Canton, Ohio, which put a ring of shower curtaining around each table.
But you’d need a way of daily testing the waiters. We’d need a battalion of health inspectors to catch illegal short-cuts. We cannot put all businesses on the honor system and let them go at it.
We can’t open bars and clubs, period. Yes, they’ll fail but we all know that those customers are not among the most responsible and rules-abiding people.
Lastly, this: Okay, you can pressure government to open most everything so the money starts flowing again. But there’s no rule that says we must patronize all those places. We can stay away from theaters, sports events and everything drawing crowds. Many of us will. Are you ready to get on an airplane with a couple hundred other passengers? Not me. A cruise ship? Not me.
Many of us will stay home, or go to a beach, or for a walk or run or a bike or moped ride in the fresh air. Many of us will order online. We might start eating mainly through FarmLink, ordering by computer and picking up your box of food at some in-town point. Maybe the Barefoot Beach Cafe will continue its virtual BBQ on Facebook Live Friday evenings with the fixin’s you pickup up at the cafe that afternoon.
We won’t be wide open. Or fully closed.
And only some time will tell if SARS-Cov2 Wave #2 will return full strength to haunt us.