Uneven restrictions causing resentment

April 24, 2020

One thing sure about human nature: People don’t like to be told they’re not allowed to do something when they see other people doing the same thing without consequence. Such is the case now as coronavirus restrictions wear on.

A local clothing retailer is closed because his business is deemed nonessential. Meanwhile he sees clothing and other nonessential items being sold in big-box stores because those stores also happen to sell groceries and other items deemed essential. Plenty of other businesses – especially small businesses – see the same thing happening regarding their line of work or products.

Big-box stores and some grocery stores are flooded with customers with little regard for precautions. Small businesses suffer. Black markets begin to develop – people providing products and services on the sly for cash. Chaos, suspicion and resentment grow.

In addition to the threat of a deadly virus, otherwise law-abiding citizens, seeing unfairness, take the matter into their own hands and find themselves lawbreakers too.

One solution: Make it clear to the so-called essential businesses they may only deal in goods and services in the essential classification or they will be shut down.

Meanwhile, sheltering at home and following other guidance is working.  When COVID-19 numbers are clearly moving in the right direction, a better solution will be to allow all businesses to operate so long as they demonstrate they are taking all precautions necessary to defeat the virus: masks, social distancing, washing and sanitizing, temperature checks and everything else appropriate. Require certification in writing that they are taking necessary measures and acknowledging they will be shut down if found in violation.

We are learning how to be more precise in identifying and addressing coronavirus hot spots and spread issues.

Businesspeople and their employees want to work. They are entrepreneurs who know how to be creative and inventive. Let’s be ready to give them the rules so they can operate in a prudent, socially responsible and legal fashion.

If we hold a little longer, positive trends will grow and restriction easing can begin. If we’re smart about this, we still have time to salvage our all-important summer season.   


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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