Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak first made its way to Iowa, our families, small businesses, and communities have been impacted in ways they have never been. In this era of social distancing and uncertainty, many have lost their jobs and businesses have had to shut their doors (some have done so for good).
As the public health situation begins to improve and the time is right, we must begin the process of reopening Iowa’s economy and get people back to work. We should do this as quickly as we can in the safest way possible.
While the vast majority of Iowans have largely remained healthy during this unprecedented time, we must continue to be smart about reopening the economy. We want to get people back to their families, social lives, churches, schools, and jobs as soon as possible and in a reasonable and responsible manner.
Some models have predicted that Iowa will reach its “peak” in late-April or early-May. If we reopen too early, we risk the possibility of creating a new wave of illnesses and deaths. If we delay, some families could be financially devastated and shuttered businesses may never come back. It’s all about finding the right balance and planning accordingly.
Iowans can do both. We can fight COVID-19 by adding health precautions to protect ourselves and each other but also get people back to work and have Iowa thriving again.
Last week, President Trump released guidelines for reopening the economy, but he is leaving it up to individual states to determine their best course of action. This makes sense, especially when you look at how differently COVID-19 is impacting regions like the Midwest and Northeast.
Here in Iowa, people are eager to reopen the economy and return to normal life. Iowa is in a much better position than other states like New York and New Jersey. In many of the more populated states, people live in incredibly close quarters and have a significantly higher risk of spreading COVID-19 to each other. Iowa doesn’t have this problem in most areas of the state.
Governor Reynolds has indicated that when it is time to reopen, she may do so using a regional approach or on county-by-county basis. This strategy will help us manage “hot spots” in the state while also getting folks back to their normal lives in areas that haven’t been impacted as badly.
Iowans are resilient and genuinely want to look out for their friends and neighbors. We have seen an outpouring of support for our health care workers as individuals and businesses have stepped up to make face masks and shields. We have seen people supporting their local restaurants and small businesses in droves to make sure they are still around after COVID. We have seen communities come together to keep spirits up in the face of this invisible enemy.
There is no doubt that Iowa’s best days lie ahead.