Opinion: Keep the economy closed

Even though many states are slowly opening up, restarting the economy will only deepen the epidemic


Kelly Sikkema

Essential workers are already putting their lives at risk to keep people healthy. Though businesses are excited to reopen their doors, doing so would put public back at risk unnecessarily.

Oliver Simpson, Staff Writer

A teenager works in a fast food restaurant, considered an “essential worker.” A woman comes to the drive thru, angrily ranting to her husband about how “stupid and unnecessary” it is that the restaurant doesn’t have its lobby open. When she hands the worker her credit card, she spits at them and calls them slurs, in hopes they catch the virus. She thinks her right to get food is more important than fast food workers safety because they “deserve it for choosing to be poor.” 

Many employees like fast food workers already have tough jobs, and the epidemic has made it worse. Opening more unneeded businesses will continue to put workers at risk.

Five months after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the United States, the government is considering reopening some non-essential businesses in order to protect the economy. These include clothing stores, movie theaters, and local businesses. This is not the correct decision for many reasons. 

One main reason the country should not reopen is simply because it is not safe yet. While citizens have started wearing masks in public, it’s not doing much to prevent the spread. According to the rules of the stay at home order, in Illinois, citizens are able to leave their house in order to go to work, go to the grocery store, pick up food, and go outside. The more businesses that open, the more places people are allowed to go within close contact. This defeats the point of the stay at home order because it can increase the spread of the virus. 

By opening nonessential businesses, the government would be encouraging anti-COVID protesters who think the stay at home order is an infringement on their constitutional rights. The stay at home order does not violate anyone’s rights because there are laws in place that allow this in some situations. It’s to keep people safe, not to prevent them from living their lives. It’ll be easier to happily go out in the world when people aren’t risking theirs and others lives.

People are allowed to be scared and should not have to risk their lives in order to make the government happy. Especially when a good amount of people don’t think that COVID-19 is real so they aren’t following the precautions put in place to ensure our safety. 

Ultimately, the economy is not more important than people’s lives. Yes, it would likely be optional to return to work but that does not guarantee someone won’t lose their job for choosing to not go back. Many businesses will use this as an excuse to hire people to replace workers who are unable to come back for lower wages. People should not have to choose between their jobs and their safety during a time of crisis. 

For a country that cares about its people, the government seems pretty willing to put them at risk. We should not be reopening nonessential businesses when the country is still following the stay at home order. It contradicts the order and puts our citizens at more risk than necessary.