‘It’s time’: Grassroots campaign calls on governors to reopen the country
Jason Hopkins on April 25, 2020
- Heritage Action for America is launching a campaign that calls on governors to “open American society,” arguing that citizens should be able to travel and operate businesses — with proper limitations in place.
- The U.S. economy has been shattered by coronavirus lockdown orders, with now more than 26 million people filing for unemployment benefits.
- Some states — such as Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma — have begun lifting their stay-at-home orders, but many other states remain under lockdown.
One of the leading conservative think tanks in the country is launching a campaign to push governors to phase out their coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders and allow the U.S. to open back up.
Heritage Action for America, the advocacy arm for the Heritage Foundation, has launched a petition telling every governor to “open American society.” Heritage is arguing that U.S. citizens — with the proper limitations — should be free to travel, that businesses be allowed to open back up to the public, and that Americans are responsible for getting themselves tested when needed.
“Governors, in particular, have a unique role to play in reopening American society as quickly as possible. Our petition puts lead on that target,” Jessica Anderson, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Heritage Action has heard from thousands of grassroots activists across the country concerned about orders restricting civil liberties and banning many essential businesses from opening — this petition gives Americans a voice to fight back,” Anderson continued.
The campaign comes as the country is facing skyrocketing unemployment levels, induced by sweeping lockdown orders by governors and city leaders.
The Department of Labor revealed on Thursday that an additional 4.4 million unemployment claims were filed the previous week, which brings the total number of people who’ve claimed unemployment amid the coronavirus crisis to more than 26 million.
The World Economic Forum reported that it could take several years for the U.S. economy to recover from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the virus is still spreading throughout the country. As of Saturday morning, more than 902,500 people across the U.S. have tested positive for coronavirus. The disease has taken the lives of more than 46,000 people, with the death rate climbing by the day.
Heritage Action is not simply asking governors to open up their economies arbitrarily, but is calling for a balanced approach to address the specific needs of each local community. For example, they are asking that governors apply limited restrictions where outbreaks are high and execute stay-at-home orders in a targeted manner.
The group has pointed to a set of recommendations established by the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of the Heritage Foundation.
“Reopening American society and fighting COVID-19 requires an ‘all of society’ approach,” Anderson said of the campaign. “That is why the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission has published recommendations combating both the economic and health impact of this crisis.”
A survey conducted by Heritage Action found that a sizably larger number of swing voters in the country (46%) would rather depend on businesses to fix the economy rather than rely on government checks (24%). While health concerns outweigh those of the economy, the poll found that concern over the economy is “growing steadily.”
Some states have, in fact, begun the process of opening their economies back up.
Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina have begun lifting some of their stay-at-home orders, with salons, gyms, and other small businesses allowed to open their doors once again. A cadre of other states across the country expect to see their lockdown orders end by the end of the month.
For the majority of Americans, however, it’s not clear how long they will have to remain in place.
“Time after time, Americans have proved how capable we are of taking care of our families, our neighbors, and our countries — it’s time to let them do that,” Anderson said.
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