During our darkest hour, our legislation failed to listen to “We the People.” It is time for Michigan to open its businesses and allow owners and employees to resume making a living, providing goods and services to Michigan residents.
We are reaching levels of unemployment not seen in decades, and economists predict 15% unemployment by June. Every day that Michigan’s economy is shut down, more small businesses will close their doors permanently, and larger businesses will struggle to resume previously ‑efficient manufacturing and distribution.
Farming has experienced a decrease in demand for industrial-sized packages, such as restaurant-sized cheese and butter, and individual-size milk cartons for school. Retooling production lines and distribution chains is not a practical short term solution, so milk is being dumped down the drain.
The determination of what is essential versus nonessential is nothing more than the imposition of personal views into citizens’ livelihoods. A young couple’s landscaping business — eagerly awaiting springtime as an opportunity to grow their business, feed their family, and invest in their future — is essential to them.
The virus has disproportionately affected the urban areas, with 80% of Michigan’s coronavirus-related deaths occurring in the greater Detroit area. A county approach to closures would make much more sense.
Eighty percent of deaths have been in people over the age of 60. This age group has always been at increased risk for complications and death from community diseases, especially flu. No quarantine can be completely effective, as staff still must go home, shop, and live life outside of work. Good infection-control practices have always been the best defense in institutions. Self-care and avoiding crowds are sensible precautions for the elderly in the community, and they should be educated in this. The best quarantine practices address protecting the elderly and vulnerable and isolating those already ill.
Restaurants and businesses were busy implementing additional sanitation measures and monitoring staff before the shutdown was mandated. Allowing businesses to meet customers’ needs and allowing customers to choose which businesses to frequent is a cornerstone of our free economy. A sweeping government mandate can never account for the many nuances of a free society.
Many freedom-loving Americans are concerned with the long-term effect of the government measures we’ve seen as a response to the coronavirus outbreak, including losing our essential rights. When the seasonal flu, COVID-19, H1N1, or some other disease comes around next winter, will the same measures be put into place then? Can we expect this to be a recurrent scenario? The current situation is untenable, unjustified, and unconstitutional.
Contact your state senator, representative, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and demand that we open Michigan now.
Jon-Paul Rutan is currently running for Hillsdale County Sheriff. He is the co-founder of the Hillsdale Justice Project.