Wednesday, April 8, 2020

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Let's Get Back To Work, But Carefully

The dilemma is when to get back to work while the pandemic is
sill spreading.

There are those who say right now to avert an economic collapse,
and those who say not for months even if it wrecks the economy.
However sincerely these positions are held, neither is workable.
The most effective solution would seem to be to wait until new
infections “flatten out” and are actually in decline --- although
exactly when is a risky judgment call. Every human life, young
and old, is priceless.

But whenever the decision is made to go back to work, and to
re-open the stores and restaurants, it will not be the same as
before. Social distancing will remain for a while, perhaps until
a vaccine is available. Sooner than scare headlines have
suggested, there will be a vaccine and effective medications and
treatments, but they will  still take some time. In short, for the
near future, even after self- or imposed quarantines are ended,
we will all still need to be very careful.

The decision of timing the resumption of “normal” work and
commerce is a critical one, and will precede any return to any
widespread social activity. Both will depend on location and
local conditions --- and could vary significantly from place to
place. Large meeting models and sport events attendance likely
will have to be rethought in the short term, as will foreign travel.

Most retail business models will likely undergo change. Among
those would be the restaurant and tourist industries, each of
which directly and indirectly employ significant numbers.
Their prompt recovery is vital, as are all the many other
industries which contribute so much to our way of life.

As Americans and members of the human family, much
challenge, ingenuity and very hard work are ahead of us, in
addition to our enduring the current emergency. We have come
back before --- after a punishing civil war, a Spanish flu pandemic,
two world wars, an economic depression, as well as many other
shared catastrophes.

It might not be what we expected to be doing in the years just
ahead, but it must be done, and we can do it.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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