As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey has decided to extend his stay-at-home order through May 15. He’s allowing retail business to begin reopening with restrictions on Monday, May 4 and intends to allow restaurants to have minimal dining on May 12, if cases stay low.
“In my opinion, I think reopening will be a slow process. It will not be like the gates are open and go back to normal life. If we do it fast, then we have a chance of virus numbers increasing. We need to take it slow and follow the phases that President Trump has outlined,” said Jonatthan Naylor, an economics teacher at Cactus Shadows.
Protests started with Operation Gridlock on April 20, where protesters stayed in their cars while honking and shouting for Ducey to reopen. Since then the protests have moved to the steps of the capitol as people huddle together, wave flags, and hold up homemade signs. While health care workers came to counter protest.
“The rallies aren’t affecting us directly, as far as I have seen and heard. But mentally it is taking a toll. We are possibly being exposed to this every single day yet we go to work and do our job, while people protest lock-downs. I am glad it hasn’t impacted them, but they truly lack an understanding of the devastation this has caused,” said a healthcare worker at Mayo Clinic who wished to remain anonymous.
As healthcare workers help combat the over 1,183,663 confirmed cases of COVID, as of May 3, ABC15 reports that globally over 200 doctors and nurses have died by contracting COVID-19.
“Mayo is taking many precautions. All employees, regardless if you have patient contact or not, have to wear masks, and employees are required to take their temperature twice a day. To keep patients and employees safe, we are screening at the entrances and asking questions and if patients meet a certain criteria, they are sent home or to the hospital,” said anonymous.
According to 12News, the unemployment rate in Arizona has skyrocketed 4.5% to 5.5%, the sharpest increase the state has seen in two decades. The Washington Post also reports that 30 million people in the U.S have filed for unemployment as of April 30.
“I feel that it would be good to reopen the economy. Unemployment is moving incredibly slow, there would be no way for us to make it financially without my husband’s continued pay. As of today [April 29], there is still no money coming from the unemployment insurance. The Pros of opening are now outweighing the risks,” said Katie Grafing, a self-employed worker who filed for unemployment more than a month and a half ago.
Rallys have been reported, breaking out in many states such as Michigan, Lusitania, Minnesota, North Carolina, and even New York, despite the high number of confirmed cases, as people beg to go back to work or reopen their businesses.
“I feel it is important to allow people to go back to work and hopefully they will be able to work safely, wearing masks, and seating the recommended distance. Those of us who are unable to perform our duties without compromising the general public due to the shortage of the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should remain closed or try to find other jobs until we’re able to do our duties without compromising health,” said Grafing.
Some states are slowly easing restrictions and reopening some non essential business. In California and Florida beaches have already reopened, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp has opened beaches and some nonessential business. Texas and Ohio began reopening on Friday May 1.