States should responsibly open up and allow their citizens to return to work.
In response to public health guidance from the White House, governors in Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Alaska, and Tennessee have begun announcing phased re-openings of their states and communities, allowing people to choose to return to work, go shopping, purchase services, and attend religious services, and once again exercise their rights and judgments as citizens. We applaud the thoughtful leadership of these governors.· In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has announced that some businesses, including gyms and hair salons, will be permitted to reopen, and elective surgeries can resume on April 24. Restaurants and theaters can re-open on April 27.
· In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott re-opened state parks on April 20, and stores can begin offering “retail to go” starting April 24. Texas residents may also resume attending religious services.
· In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves has allowed nonessential businesses to do curbside pickup, delivery, and drive-through service, and is considering permitting businesses to re-open on April 27.
· In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis opened beaches for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, and running in parts of the state on April 17, and will soon issue a plan to safely re-open the entire state.
· In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster is permitting some beaches and retail stores to re-open, including department stores and bookstores.
· In Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy is permitting restaurants, retail stores, and non-essential businesses to re-open while following “rigorous health and safety standards.”
· In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee said the “vast majority” of businesses may re-open on May 1.
Americans mobilized quickly in the face of the COVID19 outbreak, and through their efforts, prevented the spread of the disease and the overwhelming of hospital facilities. But now, it is time to allow the country to re-open, so that the public health response does not result in even more damage and fatalities from sustained financial ruin.
Public opinion polling also reflects this. According to polling done by Scott Rasmussen, Americans are increasingly ready for society to open back up again. Fifty percent of voters say that a top priority when the lockdown ends should be letting people gather in small groups at a friend’s house. Many voters polled also emphasized reopening churches and retail stores.
We echo the efforts of the House Freedom Caucus and other national leaders who are urging states to responsibly permit their citizens to return to work and reject the growing number of unconstitutional mandates that trample on civil liberties that remain essential, even in a crisis.
Americans have shown they are resilient and responsible. But as this pandemic comes to an end, they must be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights and return to daily life. We thank and support the states that are turning in this direction.