It was just a matter of time before the decision to reopen the U.S. economy was going to create a giant gulf between us. Just what we needed. Another wedge of division among Americans.
Those in the camp of going back to work and enjoying some freedoms are being portrayed as selfish and science deniers by those who want to stay home until a Covid-19 vaccine is ready.
In other words, the new fight is between two social media mantras: “Civil liberties under the law” vs. “You want people to die.“
In light of the radical alternatives I’ve been presented with, I chose the first one–not because of political passions, but abiding by the law and following the executive orders of elected officials when Florida entered phase 1 on May 4th.
Since the onset of the quarantine, more than two months ago, the county where I reside–St Johns–has reported 221 positive cases of Coronavirus, 37 hospitalizations, and 5 deaths. All neighboring counties–Flagler, Putnam, Clay, and Nassau–have held steady on similar or even lower numbers. Duval county, the highest hit, has had 1,235 positive cases of Coronavirus, 215 hospitalizations, and 35 deaths.
However, the most relevant numbers are the ones released by the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, on May 15th showing a 21% statewide decrease in ICU hospitalizations after some sectors of commerce opened (from 600 on May 4th to 472 on May 14th.)
Every morning while I drink my coffee, I read the Florida Health reports. I make it a priority to stay informed, so I can make the personal decisions that affect me and my family. (Note that my mother, who is 63, asthmatic, and has hypertension, lives with us.)
Moreover, as small business owners, my husband and I have had countless sleepless nights, considering damn well the impact of our decision to reopen our business for our employees and their families.
Therefore, when I hear the reproach of news commentators–and even friends and family–mocking with disdain those who decide to go to shop or to work, and express their civil liberties, I can’t help wishing I had a William Wallace wig to scream at the top of my lungs, “Florida is not New York!“
When the phase 1 order was implemented, I thought of my acupuncturist, who has two little ones to care for, and made an appointment on May 4th.
I thought of the nail salon on my street, owned and operated by husband, wife, and their daughter, and had a pedicure on May 12th. And, I also thought of my esthetician and her family, and had a facial on May 14th.
Small businesses, including my own, are the gears that keep the engine of the American economy moving. If we do not support each other, responsibly, during this historic and trying time, who will then?
That is why this is not just about choosing freedom; it is about choosing solidarity.
Thank you for reading and sharing.
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