You know that normally I don’t write extensively about politics or controversial current events here because I want my blog to be a little bit like a safe space from controversy or stressful things. I may mention them in passing but I don’t like to dwell on them. Today I’m breaking my rule and yeah, I might regret it, but talking about current events won’t be a regular thing here. Also, I don’t consider this post political because I’m not referencing political parties when I write this. This also isn’t written to attack anyone but to try to make us all think beyond our own situations.
I hesitated writing this post because I know people both in the real and virtual world, so to speak, who support locking down the country, or at least their states, to stop the spread of COVID. I understand why they support lockdowns and I am not totally against lockdowns. I am not an anti-masker either. I wear my mask in public, to stores, church, etc. I want to make those clarifications first. You know, before anyone accuses me of being any of these things (but I know my bloggy friends wouldn’t because you all are awesome and usually understand where I am coming from.).
What I have been thinking about is how we all tend not to think of the bigger picture when we support various actions or mandates or whatever, no matter when it is made.
And I hope you read “we all.”
I do it too. So when the lockdown came in March I was like “Yeah, I get it. Let’s go. We can do this.” I understood we needed to” flatten the curve”, or whatever each person was calling it at the time. I understood it could be for a month or more. I accepted that.
A month or more. Maybe two months. That’s what we were originally told by the task force or whoever was rambling on a particular day.
We are now in our ninth month of various restrictions to “flatten the curve.” I didn’t know it would go this long, as many of us didn’t, but okay, this is where we are at, so we deal with it.
I’m not going to discusss any specifics about the virus such as recovery/survivable rate and all of that because that creates a lot of heated discussions and feelings.
What I am going to write about is how lockdowns have a ripple effect on the rest of society and the economy and how, while they can help and are sometimes warranted, they aren’t good for everyone.
Maybe you are among those who think, “Well, shutting down bars and restaurants is needed because that’s where people are sitting close and can spread the virus.”
And okay, so bars and restaurants are closed. It’s fine, right? I mean, maybe some of those business owners can’t make ends meet and end up closing their doors and they have to find a new career and until then the government will help them, right? It’s sad, right, but it’s only a few business, a few lives changed, a few worlds flipped upside down. It’s for the greater good, right?
Sure it is. We have to think of the more vulnerable in society who might get a virus and might get really sick. Right?
Sadly, there is no might for many of these business owners when a governor tells them, many times at the last minute, to close their doors. There is fact. The fact is that if they don’t have money coming in they can’t pay for their product and if they can’t pay for their product then they can’t sell their product (when they are allowed to open again) and if they can’t sell their product they can’t pay for their product and . . . well, you get it.
It all comes full circle. But then that circles ripples out because then they also can’t pay for a lot of other things. They can’t buy their groceries, they can’t buy things their children need for school, they’ll choose not to go to the doctors when they should because they know they can’t afford their health insurance anymore and they won’t be able to afford to pay the doctors bills. The small grocery stores will begin to suffer and then the small stores that sell clothes will suffer. Of course, the big box stores will do fine because the governor said they can stay open. This all effects the suppliers of the restaurant’s food as well and eventually it trickles down to the farmers who provide some of the food and eventually the people who are already the most vulnerable economically are even more vulnerable and in danger of losing everything.
In our state, the government promised to help these small business owners, but then denied them help or the process to get help was so slow that many of them simply gave up and closed their doors. They closed their doors in small little towns that needed their businesses. I should mention that this virus effected our hospitals, especially the ones here in the rural area, differently than you think. Our hospitals didn’t fill up in March and April or any time recently. Our governor ordered all elective procedures canceled in the spring and when we did that the hospitals lost money big time.
So much money that when the federal government cut our local hospital a check for $32 million it didn’t matter and they laid off 400 nurses and staff members. More people with no jobs and no income and no way to support their families. Now we are having a surge in cases and no staff to help while the little hospitals fill up (though thankfully many of these cases are not ending up in deaths) and the health secretary is calling for the cessation of electives again to pull the hospitals even more into debt.
In other words, poverty snowballs into other areas of the economy, in case you weren’t already aware of that, which I know most of you are.
So while you are worrying that a family member of yours might get a virus and might die from said virus (as I am doing as well), the people who can’t operate the businesses they built up from the ground are dealing both with that fear and with the fear that they might lose everything they own, including their homes.
“None of this effects you,” you might say. “You aren’t a small business owner. You stay at home with your kids. What do you know?”
Actually, I do know.
My husband works for a small, independently owned newspaper. The paper survives on selling the paper, yes, but also on advertising. If they don’t have advertising money then there is no money to pay the printer to print the paper so sell the paper to pay the employees. See how that work?
If businesses are shut down by order of the governor then they obviously won’t be advertising with the paper. One, they have no reason to because they are closed and two, they have no money to because they are closed.
If they aren’t advertising, then the paper isn’t getting any income and if the paper isn’t getting any income eventually my family might not have any income, and if we don’t have any income, well we can’t support whatever business your family is in that allows you to be happy when your governor shuts down all the businesses.
So, yeah, it does affect me and it is affecting me and while I’m trying to be polite and nice and bite my tongue when many of you are happy and celebrate when businesses are shut down, it’s hard because I know of families, including my own, who have suffered, who are suffering, and who are going to suffer.
Does this mean I’m angry that you want to slow the spread of COVID? Not at all. I want to as well. I simply want it to be done in a better way that still allows businesses to operate and keep their livelihoods because when a government says they will be closed for “only a short time” we all know that’s not true.
Does this mean I wish people would think beyond their own world and their own fear to realize lockdowns aren’t good news for everyone?