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When Does “Business as Usual” Begin?

Updated: May 18, 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 has heavily impacted the day-to-day affairs of the world. However, as the rate of spread decreases, many countries have brought up the question of when they can safely resume “business as usual.” This has become an especially debated topic in the United States after the President made some controversial remarks on the matter.

In a recent press briefing, President Donald J. Trump was asked about what the next steps would be if American states refused to reopen their economies and other operations in line with the White House plan. In response, the president claimed that states “can’t do anything without the approval of the president” and that “the [president’s] authority is total.” The public was fairly quick to point out the unconstitutionality of the statement, citing the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights as proof.

The 10th Amendment declares that the powers that are not directly granted to the federal government by the Constitution lie with the states. Therefore, although the federal government reserves the right to present guidelines on how to reopen the country, it does not have the right to force individual states to lift restrictions; the federal government cannot interfere in the managing of a state’s affairs.

In response to the public reaction--and backlash from state representatives--following the statement, President Trump corrected himself, stating that a new plan was in the works that would “allow” states to reopen at different times as they saw it suitable. The new plan left the decision of lifting restrictions to county supervisors and governors.

But the question still remains: when will “business as usual” begin in America?

As of right now, it is hard to say what the future for the entire country is; however, some states are beginning to open operations slowly, yet steadily.

While most states are currently struggling to find a starting point from when they can return to a usual lifestyle, Texas is leading the way in mobilizing their economy. By quickly reopening restaurants and other small businesses, Texas hopes to return to some normalcy both economically and socially as soon as possible. It is important to note that Texas is reopening weeks before the dates suggested by health officials (Texas is scheduled to open on Friday, May 1st).

While Texas is preparing to reopen, coastal states like Florida and California are presented with another problem: the arrival of summer. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis insists that the fate of the beaches be decided locally. Due to this reason, a majority of Florida beaches remain open, attracting flocks of people and violating social-distancing protocol. DeSantis continues to keep the beaches open. Californian Governor Gavin Newsom, on the other hand, has declared that all beaches remain closed until further notice. Newsom’s announcement comes as no surprise to California residents, considering the number of cases of coronavirus that were diagnosed. This also brings up the discussion of the hardest hit states in America, and how they will be continuing their respective journeys.

With 304,000 confirmed cases and 18,000 deaths, New York is currently the hardest hit state in America, with funeral homes, morgues, and crematoriums being at full capacity. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering the question of reopening the state. In a press briefing, Cuomo warned the public and the administration about making decisions based on emotions and political agenda during this time: “I said from Day 1 on this situation, we have to be smart… Emotions run high.” Cuomo is hoping to be able to reopen the state of New York on May 15, starting by mobilizing the economy and working his way up from there.

Many other American states are currently considering easing into “business as usual” by opening up small and locally-owned businesses starting the third week of May. Non-essential worker integration and reopening of schools may take until late-July or early August. The effects of coronavirus on the political and economic dynamic of America make for an ever-changing atmosphere; no one can be absolutely sure which way the tide will turn. As for right now, we can only hope that “business as usual” is not too far away.

Author : Sanjana Sharma

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