Can we afford to wait?

Posted 5/18/20

Is it safe for businesses to open in Edgar County? Can we afford to wait out COVID-19 given the pressure on our county’s small businesses?

Have we reached a peak? Are we in a calm before the …

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Can we afford to wait?

Posted

Is it safe for businesses to open in Edgar County? Can we afford to wait out COVID-19 given the pressure on our county’s small businesses?

Have we reached a peak? Are we in a calm before the storm? Can we safely begin to live our lives in a fashion somewhat closer to what was normal? Can we afford it? Can we afford not to?

All of us sort through these questions and others on a daily basis. Our current issue is because we are making history as we live. There’s no one available to give us the answers we crave. And, of course, everyone has an opinion.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to open the state according to achieving certain numbers was certainly a step in the right direction. We agree, however, with our Paris City Council, Edgar County Board and Horizon Health that Edgar County — with no positive COVID-19 results — should be allowed to accelerate to a level beyond the rest of the state.

Some of Pritzker’s orders continue to be curious to say the least. Pritzker’s management was quick to shut down public places. The relative quiet outside of Cook County is likely a testament to that strategy. Many of his plans and decisions influenced leadership in other states.

But Pritzker is holding too many keys to the kingdom. Dog stylists being allowed to work while human stylists are not is baffling. Businesses wanting to reopen and are willing to adhere to restrictions imposed by the state are not being provided with options.

Unfortunately, even the top scientists in the world are still trying to unravel an understanding of this virus and how it works. Every decision will have to be made with the awareness that as our knowledge evolves, our reaction has to as well. What’s important and relevant today could be outmoded in even a few days as we learn about this invisible and unprecedented foe.

Pritzker must keep an eye on surrounding states. He does no one favors if the stay-at-home order is implemented here but not in surrounding states. For Edgar County residents, it’s no problem to jump in our cars and head to Indiana for a haircut, get our nails done, tan or have a meal inside a Hoosier restaurant. That means our local businesses — operated by our friends and neighbors — are suffering.

We also have to face reality. Getting through this, as difficult as it is, will pale in the price we have to pay to recover. As debts pile, local governments — perhaps even school districts — will be forced to cut essential services. The economy has to be a consideration in the decisions as we move forward as part of the formula but not the only consideration.

We also have to realize some of us may take a long time to start believing we are safe. That’s a tricky tightrope to walk.

Those on the one side of the issue would certainly whoop with delight at a reopened state. Those on the opposite side are likely to continue to live with caution.

We must find some middle ground without politicizing and bullying either side. If we don’t, we are slowly destroying our county, its businesses and its people.