As states like Ohio and Texas prepare plans to safely reopen their economies, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has demanded that the state’s lockdown be extended to June 10, 2020.
This is one day after the Republican primaries, which will be held in Virginia on June 9th.
Northam’s order extends the stay at home order by 41 days beyond the deadline recommended by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Protests in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio have suggested that people are fed up with being confined to their homes and are ready to return to work.
New York, which is the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., has seen a steady decline in confirmed new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
As the economy continues to suffer due to prolonged shutdowns, many worry Northam’s order may do more harm than good.
More details on the extended stay at home order below:
Northam, a Democrat, has ordered that Virginia residents stay home until the day after the Republican primary.
Unemployment has spiked in every state due to the forcible shutdown of small businesses and major corporations.
Though the Trump administration passed a bipartisan stimulus package, most people are worried that the checks won't be enough to last several months of shut down with no end in sight.
Local WCYB 5 News has more details on Northam's order and the protests in response:
Not everyone in the Commonwealth is happy with Gov. Ralph Northam's stay at home order.
There were protests in North Carolina and Michigan on Wednesday.
On Thursday, it was Virginia.
As more people begin to express their frustrations over stay at home orders, Del. Terry Kilgore, (R) Gate City, says the economy needs to re-open sooner rather than later.
"22 million people are unemployed across this nation," says Kilgore.
Kilgore says he doesn't agree with re-opening everything right away.
But he wants the governor to come up with a plan.
"We have a lot of businesses," says Kilgore. "I've been contacted by a lot of folks who are suffering. They haven't received much help."
Gov. Northam cites a University of Virginia study which shows social distancing is working.
However, the study indicates lifting stay at home order's too soon could be costly.
Del. Isreal O'Quinn, (R) Bristol, agrees.
"There’s no doubt that this shutdown has been very strenuous to small businesses in southwest Virginia, as well as individuals who have been furloughed," says O'Quinn. "Certainly, we do need to get the economy up and running just as soon as possible. I think you have to look and see where the X and Y axis cross, where the curve flattens out, and that’s when we can re-open businesses.”
Some conservatives have accused Democratic leaders of abusing their authority and using the COVID-19 pandemic to overreach their power.
Several mayors and governors, for example, have banned the sales of guns, which some constitutionalists argue is a assault on Second Amendment rights.
The Governor of Michigan even banned the sale of fruit and vegetable seeds.
Now, despite a strong flattening of the curve, Governor Northam wants to extend his stay at home order until June 10.
According to various reports, most of the outbreaks in Virginia are not happening among the general public.
Rather, it appears that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases are happening in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and retirement centers.
The Virginia Pilot reports that the drumbeat calling for Northam to reopen the state are growing louder each day:
The calls for Virginia’s governor to come up with a plan for reopening the state sooner rather than later are growing louder — from elected officials, advocates and residents — and President Donald Trump’s new guidelines to state leaders are likely to cause more voices to join the chorus.
But the pressure to release such a plan comes as Virginia appears to be deep in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Department of Health reporting the largest increase in cases on Friday, up 602 from the previous day. The state appears not to have yet reached a peak in cases that health officials have projected will come between late April and late May.
It’s been 46 days since Virginia reported its first positive coronavirus test. This week marked a month since Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus, and Virginians are nearing the end of three weeks under a mandatory stay-at-home order set to last nearly another two months unless the governor lifts it sooner.
Yet Americans are still venturing out. On Thursday, about 40 people lingered on the Capitol grounds in Richmond in an apparent protest of the governor’s stay-at-home order. Capitol Police spokesman Joe Macenka said police closed the gates to Capitol Square at around 11:45 a.m. to prevent more people from gathering — Northam’s order prohibits gatherings of more than 10 — and asked the remaining group to practice social distancing.
It’s at least the third gathering in the country where people anxious to return to normal life and suffering as a result of closed businesses and lost jobs are protesting governors’ stay-at-home orders.
At least 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the start of the pandemic, with over 410,000 filing in Virginia. Northam on Wednesday extended closures for nonessential businesses such as movie theaters and gyms to May 8, even as his stay-at-home order remains in effect until June 10.
In statements, on phone calls and on social media, Republican state lawmakers say it’s time to get back to work and are asking Northam to begin the process of reopening Virginia.
"Governor Northam should trust Virginians,” said House minority leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, in a statement. “Set some broad ground rules, utilize experts to allow more businesses to safely adapt to these circumstances, and let Virginians do what they do best — innovate and overcome.”
As President Trump has said numerous times, we cannot let the cure be worse than the virus itself.
Until a vaccine or cure is developed, it is likely that COVID-19 may become a seasonal illness like the flu, experts such as Dr. Faucci have suggested.
It is not feasible to shut down the economy indefinitely until a vaccine is developed.
Fortunately, states like Ohio and Texas are leading the way to safely reopen their economies.