Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced yesterday that he is lifting his stay-at-home order. The state of Maryland will start Phase 1 of recovery Friday, March 15, at 5 PM.
Nothing’s changed to make such a move warranted. The number of people infected and sick from COVID-19 grows larger each and every day.
I cannot imagine looking at these numbers and deciding now is the time to ease restrictions. If anything, now is the time to increase restrictions, not decrease them. Another option Hogan could have taken was to enforce his original restrictions.
I know for a fact people here in Hagerstown are not practicing social distancing. They wear masks, but many don’t wear them correctly. I’ve been to the Hagerstown Target twice now during this pandemic. Both times I witnessed people not wearing masks correctly. I watched while people ignored social distancing. Not only customers but Target associates too.
You would be hard-pressed to look at Maryland’s numbers and determine just when Hogan’s original stay-at-home order went into effect. We’ve reaped no discernible benefits from the original order. So let’s just ease up and see what happens.
What changes with Phase 1?
Social distancing and the wearing of masks while indoors are still required under Phase 1.
As of Friday at 5 PM, the following changes take effect here in Maryland:
- Nonessential retailers can reopen, including clothing stores, shoe stores, pet groomers, and bookstores.
- Hair salons, nail salons, and barbershops can reopen, but by appointment only. How these types of businesses can provide services and practice social distancing is a mystery to me.
- Churches, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship may reopen.
Anything operating indoors is limited to 50 percent of the maximum allowed occupancy. This even includes churches, temples, mosques, and houses of worship. You can almost bet this will not be enforced. Are churches supposed to turn worshipers away? Are police or Department of Health officials going to camp out in churches and do headcounts? That’s not very likely. They haven’t been enforcing any of Hogan’s edicts here in Hagerstown. Why should they start now?
The White House says before a state begins to reopen, there should be a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period. That has not happened in Maryland. Evidently Governor Larry Hogan knows more than the doctors and scientists at the CDC. Hogan seems to be making his decisions based on the calendar, not science. If he starts Phase 1 on May 15, he can move on to Phase 2 quicker. After that, he can move on to Phase 3.
Remember, Governor Hogan requested 15,000 body bags. He also leased at least two ice rings to serve as ad hoc morgues. I think Hogan planned on a lot more of us to die due to COVID-19. He might think he can afford to take risks when it comes to our lives.
If we’re at war with COVID-19, Governor Larry Hogan just issued his unconditional surrender. He might as well change the Maryland state flag to a piece of white cloth.
Hogan’s more worried about the economy than he is the health and welfare of Marylanders. He and his fellow Republicans just want things to go back to normal, whatever that means. What do they think will happen to the economy when a majority of Americans get infected with CODID-19? A good many of us will get saddled with medical bills we can’t afford to pay. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the maximum out of pocket your health insurance company can make you pay is $8,150. How many Americans can afford to pay that?
Even if COVID-19 survivors can pay that and not have to declare bankruptcy, it’s safe to say that cost will have a dire effect on their discretionary spending. That’s only accounting for the people who have health insurance. Survivors of COVID-19 without health insurance who get medical treatment will undoubtedly have to declare bankruptcy. They will not have a choice.
How great do you think the economy will be then?