Measured approach is what is best for community, economy

Published 4:56 pm Monday, March 23, 2020

This is a situation, a pandemic that has not been experienced before. It is a situation that does not have a playbook, but rather is a situation where leaders must act and act in the best way they know how and with the best advice possible.

Sunday, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. with the support of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, first responders as well as local medical officials, acted decisively with the aim of not only protecting the public safety, but the public health.

The move by the city to institute what is called “Phase 2” of the city’s civil emergency plan had a dual goal: asking restaurants and other businesses to alter the way they do business to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus and,  at the same time, making sure those businesses could still operate and those employees still earn a living.

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In addition, the move shutters bars and nightclubs and places a city-wide curfew beginning at 11 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m.

The exceptions would be those traveling to work and first responders.

While there has been criticism of the move and why there were not additional steps taken to close businesses, shelter in place or bring to a halt more operations, Flaggs and local leaders felt a move like that would be too drastic, and in the end, too costly to employers, employees and the local economy.

Plus, a shelter-in-place has not been called for by the experts in this situation — the medical officials.

This was not a step that was taken lightly or conducted on a whim, nor will the next step be, if needed.

Monday, the Warren County Board of Supervisors discussed at length the steps they are prepared to take. Those steps as well, when they are approved, were also done with the safety and health of the public in mind.

Combined, the two governmental agencies have additional, more restrictive steps at their disposal, as does the governor, but those steps would be far more severe, far more damaging to the local economy, and as of right now, are not necessary.

There is a chance more drastic measures will be suggested and taken, but today is not that day. We must trust our leaders, pray for them and then later hold them accountable, but at the moment, we are all in this together and must act accordingly.

These next 14 days — or longer — will not be easy, but they are necessary. That is something we must understand and abide by.