Reopening Connecticut is irresponsible, though protests have credibility


Photo by Sophie Casey '20

The Westport Public Library decided to close its doors indefinitely on March 12 to achieve social distancing.

As someone who has had the coronavirus infiltrate their house and affect the financial stability of their home, I am the first person who wants to see  people  go back to work. However, watching the protests unfold on April 20 to reopen Connecticut only confirmed everything I had been told: in order to beat this virus, people actually do need to stay home. 

The protests were in reaction to  Governor Ned Lamont’s statements advocating for safety measures like wearing masks in public in order to help lower infection rates and informing the public that it still could be weeks more of social distancing, according to the Hartford Courant. I understand the protesters’ pain and anger. Lamont’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” order closed all businesses deemed to be non-essential, meaning that employees at said businesses don’t have the ability to work and make an income. These policies came at the same time that death rates in Connecticut climbed past 2,633, according to the New York Times “Connecticut Coronavirus Case Count,” almost doubling since the count on the day the protest was held. 

But while I empathize with the protesters, I know first hand how stressful it feels to know that you have to choose between your health or your financial stability during this pandemic. One of my parents decided they needed to go to work to support our family during this time, and unfortunately they contracted the virus as a result. Seeing the toll that the virus took on my own family, I recognize how important it is to avoid it at all costs.

Seeing the toll that the virus took on my own family, I recognize how important it is to avoid it at all costs.

One thing that’s important to remember is that Connecticut politicians are working hard to try to address the pandemic, from both a medical and economic standpoint. In an interview with the Connecticut Post, representative Jim Himes emphasized the need for people to take advantage of the aid that is trying to become mainstream, such as the CARES Act. The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus package put in place to provide small businesses with forgivable loans, increase unemployment insurance and provide people with a check to help support their families. 

While this doesn’t mean that stimulus packages like these are a cure-all, it’s a start. The government, especially our state and local government, are doing what they think is best for the safety and security of all Connecticut residents. The way that we as citizens can best help them do their job is to do ours by listening and following the guidelines that have been put in place.

Protesting and blocking health care workers from getting to hospitals where they are saving lives isn’t productive in creating change; it is just hurting the people who need help the most. You are only putting yourself and the people around you in danger by refusing to wear a mask and protesting to reopen the state prematurely. 

Nothing is going to happen instantly. If the state were to lift all restrictions at once, there would be another spike in infection rates. The best thing we can do is trust that Lamont’s plan to reopen gradually on May 20 will be effective. If everyone isolates properly and follows government regulations, businesses will be able to reopen sooner and get people back to work to support their families.