A Tale of Two States

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Airman First Class Sarah Howard, 159th Medical Group, Louisiana Air National Guard, writes triage information on a patient’s car windshield at the triage section of a drive-through community based COVID-19 coronavirus testing site at Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, La., March 20, 2020. (Senior Master Sergeant Dan Farrell/US Air National Guard)

The rules in Georgia right now: Businesses may reopen and operate “minimum basic operations”; businesses are not to have more than ten people in a building unless everyone can remain six feet apart. Employees are to practice social distancing to the extent they are able, and businesses are encouraged to have as many employees telecommute as possible or use staggered shifts. Handshakes and other unnecessary forms of person-to-person contact are prohibited. The use of personal-identification number pads and electronic signature capture devices is discouraged without disinfecting between uses. Gyms, fitness centers, tattoo parlors, and bowling alleys may reopen, but are encouraged to screen workers and provide personal protective equipment. Elective medical procedures have resumed.

The rules in Colorado right now:  Vulnerable populations and older residents are encouraged to stay home except when absolutely necessary; citizens are strongly encouraged to wear face masks in public. Real estate businesses are reopened. Retail stores can re-open in-person business on May 1, if they are prepared to do so with proper social-distancing guidelines. Elective medical procedures have resumed. Dog grooming and personal training are resuming, with limitations, such as contactless drop-off and payment. Starting May 4, all offices will be allowed to re-open with 50 percent of their workforce in the building. Businesses are encouraged to have as many employees telecommute as possible. If telecommuting isn’t an option, staggered shifts, social distancing, and physical barriers are encouraged. For larger companies, Governor Polis suggested temperature checks for employees, if feasible.

Other than the specific rules on gyms, fitness centers, tattoo parlors, and bowling alleys — perhaps the most widespread point of concern and disagreement — the two states are following roughly similar paths to reopening.

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It is easy to find headlines contending that the decisions of Georgia governor Brian Kemp are “dumb,” “stupid and crazy,” “controversial,” leave mayors “beyond disturbed,” and “risk lives.”

I suspect that unless you live there, you haven’t heard much about the changing restrictions and recommendations in Colorado. Why is that?

Oh, Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, is a Democrat — that explains it.

The decisions of Polis don’t serve a narrative that “good and wise blue state governors are keeping restrictions in place, while bad and foolish hick red state governors who don’t believe in science are recklessly reopening their states, embodying the mayor of Amity in Jaws.”


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