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Opinion: It’s time to re-open

It was as if some 371 days ago the clock struck midnight and the people of America twirled the “Come in, WE’RE OPEN!” sign around to read “Sorry – CLOSED,” whether by choice or government order. 

Now, a year later, keys are coming out of the pockets of Americans to open the doors once again – as if the clock was striking eight in the morning. Better put some coffee on. 

According to USA today, 32 states are shrinking in new COVID-19 cases, and that includes these green mountains. This is fantastic news and is being responded to eagerly by state governments coast to coast. Forty states are categorized by USA Today as “loosening” restrictions, while Texas, Iowa, Missouri, and Florida have opened everything up entirely. According to the New York Times, mask rules are out entirely in 14 states, and 43 states have businesses mostly open. 

The re-opening of states was referred to as “Neanderthal thinking” by the president, while disparities in new cases between open and restricted states don’t match the degree of restrictions. In California, The New York Times reports 50,000 new cases, with a stay-home advisory still in place, some businesses still closed, and masks still mandatory. 

According to Statista, the population of California is 39.51 million people, with a population density of 254 residents per square mile. Florida, with 21.5 million people and a population density of 397.2 residents per square mile, has 20,000 new cases, with no mask mandates and no business or gathering restrictions. 

In looking at those numbers, the restrictions aren’t helping in California. You would expect Florida’s new cases to rival California’s, even with half the population due to the “neanderthal thinking” in the sunshine state. 

Only time and the media will tell what the right or wrong answers were to this puzzle. As we begin to hear the echoes of shopkeeper’s bells from coast to coast, Americans will be regaining the freedom that makes the United States, and all the free nations of the world so great. That includes the freedom for individuals to wear as many masks and stay home as many hours as they want. It also includes the freedom for individuals to not wear masks and go as many places as they want. Grab that coffee, it’s nearly eight in the morning again in America, and it’s time to go to work and make the best of this day that we can together.