Reopening economy too soon would cost lives, precious time, N.Y. governor warns

Reopening economy too soon would cost lives, precious time, N.Y. governor warns

Reopening economy too soon would cost lives, precious time, N.Y. governor warns

WASHINGTON — The angry din of car horns echoed through Virginia’s capital city Wednesday as the debate about America’s path to recovery pitted impatient U.S. workers and business owners against governors and health experts who fear a crippling resurgence of COVID-19.

A procession of vehicles paraded past the state capitol in Richmond in hopes of convincing Gov. Ralph Northam to lift a stay-at-home order and let people go back to work — a carbon copy of protests in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Tennessee and Maryland, among others.

The protests have been widely linked to the country’s pro-gun lobby and conservative action groups that support Republican President Donald Trump, fuelling doubts about whether they represent a wider impatience in the U.S., particularly since polls have continued to suggest widespread bipartisan support for the restrictions.

But whatever their genesis, the result is the same: there is mounting political pressure on governors and municipal officials — even in hard-hit New York state, where more than 20,000 people have died — to rouse the dormant U.S. economy.

“This is no time to act stupidly. Period. I don’t know how else to say it,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Like Northam in Virginia, Cuomo is a Democrat.

“This is not going to be over any time soon. I know people want out, I get it. I know people want to get back to work. I know people need a paycheque. I know this is unsustainable. I also know more people will die if we are not smart.”

The contrast of Cuomo’s message with that emanating from other states, particularly Republican-led states in the Deep South, was jarring.

In Georgia, which was reporting nearly 20,000 active cases Wednesday and 836 deaths, Gov. Brian Kemp expects to have many businesses — including hair salons and tattoo parlours, where physical distancing is physically impossible — back up and running as early as Friday. In Tennessee, the plan is for shops and services to reopen next week.

Governors who choose to roll the dice would likely be more inclined to do so if they knew that the recent protests were an organic expression of public sentiment, said Matthew Mitchell, a professor of international business and strategy at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

But even if they’re inauthentic, they still provide a measure of handy political cover, Mitchell said.

“In some ways, it definitely gives coverage to those governors that have the predisposition to open their economies more quickly,” he said. ”That’s the chess match these competing narratives are playing out.”

In Canada, which negotiated with the U.S. a mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries that has since been extended until May 21, a similarly segmented approach to reopening is beginning to emerge — albeit one shrouded in caution and caveats.

Prince Edward Island, where the COVID-19 caseload is low, is aiming to start lifting restrictions on outdoor activities and elective surgeries late next week, with an eye towards reopening businesses in mid-May, Premier Dennis King said Tuesday. New Brunswick is optimistic it could adopt a similar timeline.

“The different provinces will make different decisions about how and where to start restarting, reopening their economies. We are going to work to co-ordinate, so that we’re basing ourselves on shared values, principles and scientific approaches right across the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

That, however, isn’t going to translate into any sort of phased-in changes to Canada’s border agreement with the U.S. any time soon, he added.

“We will continue to co-ordinate with the United States, but the national measures will apply right across the Canada-U.S. border, regardless of provinces or jurisdictions.”

As the situation in the U.S. continues to evolve, Canada and its leaders, themselves not immune to the influence of political pressure, could eventually end up in an awkward position, Mitchell said.

“Canada definitely has to think long and hard about the health and economic impacts of opening up too soon and following its larger cousin to the south,” he said.

“Canada is still critically intertwined with the U.S. economy, so I just don’t think it can ride off into the sunset and be self-sufficient any time soon. Nor can we, frankly. But the conversation and decision needs to be informed by domestic health issues and domestic economic issues.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.

— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyle

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alert logo
Red Deer man arrested for child luring

A Red Deer man was arrested on Jan. 21 for an alleged… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Cancel travel plans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urges Canadians

OTTAWA — Canadians should cancel any non-essential travel plans they might have,… Continue reading

Jessica Swainson of Red Deer is of three local filmmakers who benefited from $20,000 of project funding from TELUS Storyhive. (Screenshot by Advocate staff).
Three Red Deer filmmakers each receive $20,000 to spotlight local heroes

Adam Jasper, Linda Pidhirney and Jessica Swainson received funding

Charlyn Stanley and her seven-year-old daughter Kaia look at vegetables being sold during at the Gasoline Alley Farmers Market in November. ( File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta farmers market now open three days a week

Shoppers supporting Gasoline Alley Farmers Market

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his officials have been in frequent contact with President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration making the case for a long disputed oil pipeline that reports say Biden will cancel on his first day in office.   (Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP)
Members of Kenney’s UCP caucus nix NDP bid to seek details of failed Keystone XL deal

EDMONTON — Members of Premier Jason Kenney’s caucus have refused an Opposition… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

Conservative MP Tracy Gray rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The Opposition Conservatives are urging the federal government to push back on President Joe Biden’s protectionist Buy American plan.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Opposition urges Liberal government to push back against Biden’s Buy American plan

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — The Opposition Conservatives are urging the federal government… Continue reading

Quebec Crown prosecutor Francois Godin speaks to reporters outside a courtroom, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec City Halloween night stabbing suspect returns to court for brief hearing

QUEBEC — The 24-year-old man accused in the Quebec City Halloween night… Continue reading

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers during the presentation of the program of activities of the Portuguese Presidency on a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Francisco Seco, Pool
Canada’s vaccine deliveries further threatened as Europe mulls export controls

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada’s… Continue reading

Conservative MP Tracy Gray rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The Opposition Conservatives are urging the federal government to push back on President Joe Biden’s protectionist Buy American plan.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
If Canada can survive four years of Trump, it can navigate the new Buy American: PM

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says after the last… Continue reading

Nova Scotia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Mistaken identity: Porn allegation dropped against Nova Scotia doctor after mix-up

HALIFAX — In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, Halifax police blamed… Continue reading

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

Most Read