Delaware needs common sense plan on road to reopening
We, the citizens of Delaware, desperately need a positive, safe and common sense plan to begin reopening our communities on or before May 15 to save both our health and the economy.
Our politicians have been making decisions based upon fear and negativity which is not their fault in the beginning of a pandemic. They simply did not have the facts, and were forced to utilize assumptive virus models. Their actions were appropriate at that time, but it is now imperative that we pivot to making decisions founded in positivity and knowledge utilizing the dynamic facts we have experienced to date.
We now know that COVID-19 is a very communicable virus easily transmitted from human to human in close proximity environments.
We also now know that healthy people, those who do not have a compromised or weakened immune system, have a high recovery rate.
Conversely, those with weakened or deficient immune systems have a much lower recovery rate. Furthermore, we know that more people have or have had the virus than first thought. As Delaware ramps up the testing particularly in hot spots like our poultry industry the number of cases will increase. This fact does not necessarily equate to an increase in hospitalizations or deaths; it just simply means that more people have it which aids in herd immunity.
Having this knowledge provides us with a foundation to make a positive, measured and simple reopening plan.
The basic tenants of the reopening plan would be as follows:
• Adequate hospital capacity in the event hospitalization rates increase
• Sick citizens to shelter in place
• Compromised/weakened immune system citizens to shelter in place and/or wear proper mask and glove protection along with six-foot physical spacing
• Healthy citizens to wear masks and practice six-foot physical spacing
• All businesses, churches, etc. would be allowed to open at 25 percent of the building’s capacity May 15 while practicing six-foot physical spacing and requiring both employees and customers to wear masks, gloves (where appropriate) while practicing good hygiene.
• After successfully opening for two weeks, the capacity would be increased to 50 percent June 1.
On June 15, the capacity would increase to 75 percent. This capacity would be maintained until an adequate therapeutic or vaccine is available or the virus becomes no longer a significant health risk.
(It is important to note that increased testing and contact tracing is necessary and is occurring as we speak.)
Time is of the essence. We ask that our leaders garner the courage and leadership to reopen our economy while allowing our citizens to take personal responsibility for their health while following safe protection practices such as masks, gloves and physical spacing to protect the community as a whole.
If Delaware remains shut down until mid-June or the beginning of July, the ramifications to both our health and our economy will be irreparable.
Clinton Bunting is a fifth generation Sussex Countian, 26-year downtown Rehoboth Beach business owner, developer, owner, and operator of residential and commercial properties throughout Delaware and Southern New Jersey, founding chairman of Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation, past president Rehoboth Beach Main Street, with a bachelor’s degree in economics from The College of William & Mary.