Lopez: Start gradually reopening Boardwalk now

May 5, 2020

I dialed up state Sen. Ernie Lopez Monday morning to get his take on where we are with the coronavirus and the state shutdown. His sixth district covers the heart of Delaware’s Cape Region including Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth Beach. Lopez was clear that he thinks it’s time to recognize all workers and businesses as essential.  He also said he thinks it’s important for the state to give guidance on how we’re going to live with the coronavirus.  

And what specific advice would he give Gov. John Carney at this point?

He said the state has to begin opening gradually and he recommends starting with the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. “I think the Boardwalk should be opened from 6 to 9 in the morning and from 5 to 8 in the evening.  “Let’s watch it for a week and see how it goes.  Depending on how it goes, we could then start puling back more.  But we should start with that and start now.

“I’m so proud of my constituents.  They’ve really taken it on the chin and they’ve responded with grace and dignity - showing great resilience in dealing with this crisis.  But now we have to figure out how to live with this virus among us.  There’s no vaccine for the foreseeable future. But we need to keep living and we have to do it with the least amount of infringement by the state on our individual liberties.  I think the state’s response overall has been good.  But we’re eight weeks into this.  The hospitals have done a great job at being prepared and as a result haven’t been swamped or overwhelmed.  Lots of stress, yes.  They’ve done a great job. But opening our businesses and keeping our constituents healthy are not mutually exclusive.”

All work and all workers are essential in Lopez’s eyes. “My father always taught me that no matter whether you’re a sanitation worker or an astronaut, you should do your work with dignity and grace. Right now some are being told their work is essential while others, not so much.  It’s important to make all individuals feel their work is valued.  It’s time to start allowing business owners and individuals to make the decisions they need to make to live.  Business owners know how to make their businesses safe.  And they certainly don’t want to get the reputation as a place where people get sick. It’s time to allow all businesses and employees to be deemed essential.  I don’t know who made the list.  I certainly know it wasn’t the members of the General Assembly.  But I think there will be a reckoning at some point.  All workers are essential.”

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