Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday tighter COVID-related restrictions. She got criticism before the news conference was over. Why now? Shouldn’t you have done something sooner? And some wondered if it was too much.
What other choice does she really have?
It’s up to us as individuals to ensure businesses faced with tighter restrictions can continue to survive. And it’s up to us as individuals to adhere to guidelines to slow the spread.
Brown’s two-week freeze is extensive. It includes: take-out only from restaurants and bars, closing gyms, closing indoor entertainment facilities and much more.
Oregon’s National Federation of Independent Business reacted harshly Friday. As the NFIB says most businesses do what they can to prevent the spread of the virus. Many may go under if the conditions under which they operate are further restricted.
“Unfairly forcing law abiders to further face closing their businesses is not the way to go,” the NFIB said in a statement.
When people socialize at a restaurant or a bar in Bend, there are a number of ways COVID mask and distancing regulations are enforced. Business owners and staff will try. Other customers may try. And even the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Bend police or city code enforcement may get involved. When people socialize with friends in a home, though, government can’t control it without measures that would be frightfully invasive.
Brown’s options are limited. You can criticize Brown’s freeze for not getting the right mix. For being too harsh. For not happening soon enough. For the lack of federal help to ensure businesses will survive. For a state unemployment system that is still behind in getting people benefits. Yes, what she proposed is wholly imperfect. But faced with a raging pandemic, it is not wholly unreasonable.
Local businesses are going to need your help to survive the freeze. Order takeout tonight. Extend your gym membership. Buy local and not through the mail. And most of all don’t think for a moment that it’s OK to let your guard slip with your friends. Mask up and keep your distance.