by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
To say Americans are jittery about their economic future is to downplay our reality. Jittery doesn’t cut it when roughly 1 in 3 Americans tell CNBC’s pollster they’ve either been impacted already or expect for the shoe to drop:
We’re now weeks into this public health emergency and still weeks away from the presumed ending of Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order. That order has forced businesses to close, leaving hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians out of work and waiting for an unemployment check — through no fault of their own. And if a recession isn’t already here, experts say a recession is coming. We all understand that we’re living through a legitimate public health emergency, but it is possible to both address COVID-19 and build a plan for giving North Carolinians back their livelihoods at the same time. JLF CEO Amy Cooke’s message is spot on.
It is time for Gov. Cooper to lead with a specific plan and timetable for reviving our economy. Carolina Journal is asking Gov. Cooper the right questions — respectful and reasonable questions. Here they are:
Who are you consulting to guide your decision-making for a COVID-19 response? Are business leaders, educators, nonprofit and civic leaders, elected officials from both parties involved in the meetings or discussions?
What is the process for decision making regarding adopting new restrictions, recommendations, or practices?
Have you considered a reopening strategy? If so, how would you phase it in? When will you make it available to the public?
Have your or your advisers done economic analysis of the shutdown? What is the impact on the state’s economy?
Absent mass testing, is there a more targeted strategy to keep vulnerable communities safe while reopening other sectors of economic and social life?
Have you considered lower-tech approaches, such as asking people who must be outdoors to mask up? Providing thermometers to households without them and ordering anyone running a fever to stay home and isolate?
Why close state parks and limit opportunities for exercise and activity if people practice social distancing?
North Carolinians deserve answers — and a plan for recovery.