Texas reopen policy could be harmful if not executed correctly

As+of+Monday%2C+May+18%2C+Texas+Governor+Greg+Abbott+has+implemented+phase+two+of+his+reopening+Texas+plan.+Within+phase+two%2C+gyms+and+athletic+facilities%2C+office+buildings%2C+and+non-essential+manufacturing+sites+will+be+able+to+resume+operations+at+limited+capacities.+

Photo by: Anna Holme

As of Monday, May 18, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has implemented phase two of his reopening Texas plan. Within phase two, gyms and athletic facilities, office buildings, and non-essential manufacturing sites will be able to resume operations at limited capacities.

Anna Holme, Dispatch Reporter

As Texas is beginning to reopen its economy as the stay-at-home order is slowly lifted, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding what this means for the health of Texans and businesses across the state. While I myself am not a fan of self-isolation, I believe that jumping into things too soon can do more harm than good. I believe that Texas is not making the best decision to be opening up so early, as it could lead to a spike of COVID-19 cases, and we do not have the resources to defend ourselves if it does.

The number of Coronavirus cases has been rising every day, in Texas especially. Testing for COVID-19 is not accessible or quick enough to keep up with demand, and it will not act as an effective way to make sure that anyone interacting in public is healthy. Regardless of various precautions being taken to ensure people’s safety, wearing masks and lowering business capacity is not a foolproof plan and can lead to a resurgence of the Coronavirus in Texas. Our state, and the public health of the people who inhabit it, are still in an extremely vulnerable position, so I do not believe now is the best time to reintroduce economic interests into the equation.

However, everyone’s concerns about their businesses and economic standings are valid. With unemployment rates also on the rise, the discussion regarding the right time to reopen things often ends up on the argument that many people are suffering without jobs or a steady income. This is completely understandable, but I think we also need to understand that there is no possible ideal solution in this situation. There are so many essential workers who are putting their health on the line for us, so I feel it would be irresponsible to pay them back by disregarding self-isolation and only proliferating COVID-19 even more. 

I have seen many people who are disregarding these social-distancing protocols altogether. There are too many people who are not wearing masks, are not staying home unless necessary, and generally not taking the steps required to stay healthy. Everyone is entitled to their own ways of handling this situation, but there are so many small steps you can take to make sure your community is safe and happy. Honestly, it surprises me that something as simple as wearing a mask (or any sort of mouth covering) when out in public is a concept that is lost for others. Just because time is passing does not mean the Coronavirus is going away, the curve is not flattening yet, so we should not be getting too comfortable.

I think that America’s consistent disregard for these issues is a big problem with our country’s mindset on COVID-19, Texas included. We believe that the passage of time will work this all out, and if we give it a few months everything can go back to normalcy. This is just not true. We have to put in the effort to keep this pandemic as short as possible, and if that means taking a little longer to stay inside, then so be it.

So, I implore you: continue practicing self-isolation. While businesses are reopening and Texas is attempting to normalize its economy, COVID-19 still poses a major threat. Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should, and this also applies to how we should be treating the Coronavirus. There are so many people attempting to solve or help with this crisis, and we should all be focusing on not becoming part of the problem. I may not agree with the rulings of the Texas government, but I will attempt to make the best of it. Empathy is our greatest ally at the moment, and if we try to understand the plight of others, then the threat Coronavirus poses will decrease immensely.