Idaho’s stay-at-home order is in its final week. Now, Gov. Brad Little says he will use available data to decide whether to keep in place the mandate that’s slowly starving Idaho’s businesses and employees in ways that are easily more measurable than Covid-19 infections. It ought to be an easy decision for him. He should see that it is past time to re-open the economy. But even if the governor doesn’t, Idahoans cannot, should not, and need not tolerate having to wait any longer.
Related: Are you a business owner desperate for the economy to reopen? Are you a worker who needs a paycheck? We want to tell your story. Click here to tell IFF what's at stake for you if the state extends the stay-home order.
Here’s my assessment of the situation: Ample time has passed, and more information has come to light. We have learned about social distancing and how to implement it. We know certain populations are more at risk than others. We know Covid-19 has been around longer than previously reported by the Chinese government. We know our own government is inflating the number of coronavirus deaths by counting people with an underlying health condition as being a casualty of this pandemic. We know epidemiologists disagree about whether locking down a population is preferable to herd immunity. And we know doctors disagree on testing and treatment protocols.
It’s also increasingly evident that no one in a position of power has an exit strategy. It’s obvious that health “experts,” who don’t have to worry about meeting a payroll or where their next paycheck is coming from, have an oversized role in making decisions for people who do. The “experts” don’t seem to fathom how insufferable it is when they estimate that these lockdowns might go on for several more weeks, or months, or into the fall of 2021.
It’s been informative to watch the stick-to-itiveness of media bias even as constitutionally protected liberties — on which a free press depends— are trampled. Let’s ponder how news organizations that wept and hollered over recent government budget shutdowns are now favorable, even passionate, about the shutdown of the economy and the suspension of inalienable rights. Idaho news organizations vacuously report that the state attorney general says he “stands ready to defend” the governor’s stay-at-home order. It sounds like a significant development, but that’s not news. The AG is a lawyer, and the state of Idaho is his only client. Such “journalism” is intended to reinforce the narrative that we’re all better off like this, under the newest, craziest form of house arrest.
The available information tells me it’s time to reopen IFF’s downtown Boise office, and I plan to do so regardless of what action the governor, Boise’s mayor, or any other elected official may take. This decision has the support of our employees, who still have the option of working from home if so desired.
Inside the office, we’ll maintain appropriate distances between people. We’ll wash our hands frequently, avoid touching our faces, and we’ll stay home if we’re sick. If we have guests, we will take special steps to protect the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. We’re going to conduct business as close to the way we always have, knowing that some things might need to change. If living with Covid-19 is the new normal, it’s best to adapt to it sooner than later. Barricading ourselves in our homes is not a solution. It’s neither the Idaho way, nor the American way.
That’s how I see it. Other Idaho business and organization leaders should conduct their own assessments, reach their own conclusions, and act accordingly. For those who want the government’s permission first, I hope Gov. Little replaces his current order with one that recognizes the need to let Idahoans get back to work. As for me, this experiment is at its end.