RALEIGH – Despite being on the precipice of ‘Phase One’ of reopening North Carolina’s economy, the top down, one-size-fits-all shutdown approach using arbitrary and flawed measures continues to weigh on the livelihoods of North Carolinians. The shutdown edicts from Governor Roy Cooper were predicated on a scenario that proved wildly exaggerated, and therefore call for a different approach to reopening.
That’s the argument by Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, as trumpeted by the Republican Governor’s Association:
“North Carolina Lt. Governor and Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Forest is advocating for a pragmatic approach to that would put the Tar Heel State on the road to economic recovery while continuing to protect public health.
In an interview with the Daily Signal podcast this week, Lt. Governor Forest outlined his proposal to reopen the state on a county-by-county basis – a strategy that has been adopted in numerous states with both Democratic and Republican governors.
Forest detailed North Carolina’s diversity, noting, “We’re the second-most rural state in the United States of America, even though we have 10.5 million people, and we’re the eighth-largest state,” and saying, “I believe right now many of our counties could start to open back up and you could start to do that in a safe and healthy way.”
Bipartisan governors across the country have utilized regional reopening strategies, including in neighboring Tennessee and similarly diverse states like New York and Florida.
“This is the United States of America, we can protect lives and livelihoods at the same time,” said Forest.
Lt. Governor Forest has been calling for a regional approach to recovery for weeks, but Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has refused to consider the proposal. Lt. Governor Forest has also pushed Governor Cooper to provide more transparent COVID-19 data to the press and public – a call that has been echoed by reporters and editorial boards in the state.”
Communities around the state are begging the governor to allow them to make decisions at the county level to better match policies to the reality on the ground. The longer shutdown policies persist the more permanent the economic damage becomes, all while the damage from the feared contagion is readily absorbed by our health systems.