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The choices — both good and bad — are before us all

When it comes to the debate about whether or not to open the government and the community from shelter-in-place orders at the local, county and state levels, there is no right answer. There will be unintended consequences and there will be lives negatively impacted.

Those who are in elected office — at the local, state and national level — are weighing all the options and all of them are bad.

One option is opening the public and private sectors, allowing the economy to restart. This option at all levels has been discussed in a way that would phase in government and business operations.

While this would allow the economy to come back alive, it puts at risk all the gains made from those same shelter-in-place orders.

But just how long can our economy survive? Just how long can people go without work? And, just how much debt must our country bear in providing one stimulus package after another?

Again, no good options.

Then again, by sheltering in place, we have by all accounts flattened the curve. The numbers we see today are from tests taken more than a week ago, but due to a sluggish testing and reporting system at the state level, those figures are only showing up today.

We have seen our community — for the most part — remain healthy. Similar sized communities throughout the state have seen far higher numbers of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus and far more deaths as a result. While one confirmed case is too many and one death far too many, we have been blessed. But, our leaders have also been proactive and aggressive.

Closing down the economy at the local and state level has caused lives to be saved, but livelihoods shattered. We have seen unemployment at the local and state levels skyrocket and more cuts are likely coming as a result.

Just this week, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced that there is a chance the city could be forced to cut 10 percent of its workforce due to the downturn of the economy and the plummeting of sales tax revenues.

There are no good options.

In the end, our leaders must find a balance to these orders and impact. But while they make the decisions, the results and impact of those decisions are up to us. We can choose to maintain the social distancing guidelines and hygiene standards that have kept so many healthy.

While our leaders do not have any good options, we do. We must choose wisely when and how we return to society. We must choose wisely when and how we go out to eat and shop locally.

The choices — both good and bad — are before us all.