What a strange experience this COVID-19 journey has been. Nothing like this has happened in our lifetimes. First, I’d like to thank everyone, in every walk of life, who has risen to the challenges during this pandemic. This has been an intense, humbling and painful struggle for us all, in one way or another.
The good news is, the COVID-19 curve did flatten and has been heading downward since its spike in April. Gov. Ned Lamont is allowing our economy to gradually re-open this week. These are very encouraging signs.
Throughout this ordeal, there has been a tug-of-war tension between minimizing the health risks and minimizing the economic damage. Each one of us has views that are somewhere on this spectrum.
This situation reminds me of the 1960’s song Turn, Turn, Turn. Based on the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes, the lyrics begin with “To everything, there is a season.” In the midst of the coronavirus, I would add a new phrase: “A time to close, a time to open.”
There are many sincere people who, for very legitimate reasons, are extremely alarmed by the re-opening of our economy. They are concerned that by re-opening, we are jumping the gun and asking for trouble. They are fearful that COVID-19 will spread, and that we’ll have a sobering and perhaps even more devastating second wave on our hands, which we will live to regret.
There are also sincere people who, for very legitimate reasons, are persuaded that enough is enough. We must trust people to behave responsibly and give our economy the breathing room to revive. We cannot remain in economic limbo. We cannot allow fear and avoidance of risk to paralyze us from making economic progress. If we keep the economy in lock down, we will regret the sobering and devastating economic, societal and health results.
I don’t know where you stand along this spectrum, but in this difficult and uncertain environment, decisions must be made. No matter what leaders choose to do, critics will rail on them and unintended consequences will arise. As a business owner who knows hundreds of other business owners, and as a community and ministry leader, I believe it is time to re-open. As we do, I pray that we will all have the wisdom to make the best choices possible. I also pray that God will be merciful to us and that the worst truly is behind us. I’m looking forward to the summer months and a return to some semblance of normalcy.
Drew Crandall of Vernon is President of Keep In Touch.