by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
In late May, Cooper issued a report, Staying Ahead of the Curve, on NC’s progress in dealing with the coronavirus. The report states, “North Carolina has taken aggressive action to to save lives…..And we have flattened the curve….we have slowed the rate of acceleration.” And asks, “where do we go from here?”
He laid out a three phase plan to reopen our state.
Stay At Home order remains in place, people can leave home for commercial activity
Those retailers and services will need to implement social distancing, cleaning and other protocols
Gatherings limited to no more than 10 people
Parks can open subject to gathering limits
Face coverings recommended in public
Restrictions remain in place for nursing homes and other congregate living settings Encourage continued teleworking
At least 2-3 weeks after Phase 1
Lift Stay At Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home
Allow limited opening of restaurants, bars and other businesses that can follow strict safety protocols (reduced capacity)
Allow gathering at houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity. Increase in number of people allowed at gatherings
Open public playgrounds
Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and congregate living settings
At least 4-6 weeks after Phase 2
Lessen restrictions for vulnerable populations with encouragement to continue practicing physical distancing
Allow increased capacity at restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worship and entertainment venues
Further increase the number of people allowed at gatherings
Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and congregate care settings
Phase 2 began Friday May 22 at 5:00. On June 24, Cooper extended Phase 2 until July 17. On July 16, he extended Phase 2 again, until August 7 and On August 5, Cooper expended Phase 2 until Sept 11. By his time frame, we could have been in Phase 3 in mid-July.
Yet, here we are more than three months since we “flattened the curve” and still stuck in Phase 2. Bars, gyms, play grounds, museums and more closed. Other businesses so restricted, they can’t make it and are closing for good. People have lost jobs, investors have lost life savings, education has become hours in front of a screen, NC’s once robust economy now barely sputtering along.
Cooper claims decisions have been made on “science and data”, but yet flaws, inaccuracies and missing information cast doubt on his intent. The goalposts to re-open are continually moved to fit some kind of political agenda. Cooper keeps telling us “people are hurting”. They are. His polices on re-opening on causing that pain. The answer to almost all of the pain is to reopen the economy safely, allow businesses to open responsibly, and let people work.
Some businesses openly defy Cooper’s orders in a last ditch effort to survive. Today he will again try to answer “where do we go from here?” Here’s the real question, having made tremendous sacrifices to flatten a curve that’s been flat for months, do North Carolinians have any patience left for a governor who refuses to lead?
Governor Cooper will hold a press conference today at 3:00.