Thursday 9 April 2020

‘Stay-At-Home’? Not In These States

As regions across the country face the coronavirus outbreak, an unprecedented number of state governments have been engaging in unprecedented public health measures with the goal of curbing the pandemic.
The New York Times reports that about 316 million people across 42 states and several miscellaneous counties and municipalities are under some form of stay-at-home order or advisory. This leaves just a handful of states, all of which are around the midwest or south, without one. 
While Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, has previously indicated that he believes a national lockdown should be considered, the governors in these eight states are holding off on sweeping orders, at least for now.
South Dakota
Last week, Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) drew headlines after she explained that the state would not implement a stay-at-home order, calling the idea a “one-size-fits all approach,” and an example of “herd mentality.”
“My responsibility is to respect the rights of the people who elected me, and to manage our state operations in a way that reflects the realities of what we have here on the ground here,” said the governor. “On the foundation of my principles, common-sense conservative values, and the principles we hold dear in America, the facts, the science, and the data will guide our decision-making here in South Dakota.”
To mitigate the spread of coronavirus, the governor has already ordered the closure of public schools for the remainder of the school year, and instituted shelter-in-place orders for at-risk populations in select counties, reports Keloland Media Group.
North Dakota
While Governor Doug Bergum (R-ND) has also not instituted a stay-at-home order, the governor has taken measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including self-quarantine orders for anyone who tests positive for the virus.
“Self-quarantine is the least restrictive and most practical means of isolating individuals who are contagious or exposed to COVID-19,” said Bergum, reports Valley News Live. “We will continue to take targeted action to slow the spread of the coronavirus and preserve hospital capacity to save lives.”
The self-quarantine order also applies to anyone who lives with someone who tests positive. The governor also recently extended the mandatory closure of dining rooms in restaurants and entertainment venues until April 20, reports Fox News. Public schools are also closed.
Governor Kim Reynolds (R-IA) has also refused to implement a stay-at-home order around the state, arguing that the order would present a lot of downsides, even as it pertains to public health and safety.
We are a connected community. There’s just that side of it as well,” said Reynolds, reports The Associated Press. “In addition to suicides and domestic abuse, there are a lot of downsides to it as well.”
Instead of a stay-at-home measure, the governor has implemented closures on non-essential businesses, including retail stores, dine-in portions of restaurants, and entertainment venues. All gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited, and schools will remain closed through April.
Dr Fauci has indicated that the governor’s orders are “functionally equivalent” to the stay-at-home orders in other states, reports ABC 9.
Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE) hasn’t issued a stay-at-home order, but has encouraged businesses to limit themselves to ten customers at once. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the governor has also asked people to consider wearing masks while in public, and to practice social distancing at all times.
“It’s a virus that’s much more dangerous than some of its predecessors, such as H1N1,” said the governor last month, reports Omaha.
The governor has provided public health guidance, but has not implemented forced closures similar to Iowa. Dr. Fauci, who was initially critical of the governor’s response, has since indicated that the public health measures in the state are also “functionally equivalent” to a stay-at-home order, reports Nebraska TV.
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) has avoided implementing a statewide stay-at-home order for Arkansas’ three million residents, arguing that it would ultimately prove to be an ineffective tool during the coronavirus outbreak.
“It gives the impression that we’re not really doing as much as we should be in Arkansas, when you can see from the targeted response that we’re doing a great deal, and it has been having some success,” said the governor last week.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Hutchinson has predicted that a sweeping order would result in layoffs for 200,000 people, and that more than 700,000 people would still be exempt if the order was structured like California’s.
The governor has also prevented mayors from implementing local stay-at-home policies, arguing that the state needs to have a unified response. Arkansas public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) has instituted a partial stay-at-home order that only applies to people designated as vulnerable to the coronavirus, including elderly people and immunocompromised people.
“The best way to slow the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19 is through aggressive testing and tracing, as well as continuing to practice social distancing,” said the governor, reports ABC Tulsa. “I know how much these decisions affect people, but this is the right time to take these steps in order to protect our health care workers, our hospital systems, and each other.”
Stitt has also encouraged people to stay home when possible, and indicated on Tuesday that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the trajectory of the outbreak, reports The Oklahoman. Earlier this week, the state began online learning for public schools.
While much of Utah is under some form of local stay-at-home order, all to varying degrees, Governor Gary Herbert (R-UT) has declined to implement a sweeping order across the state, instead opting to issue statewide recommendations, including asking people to stay home.
“We don’t want to end up having a vice grip on the economy any more than is happening right now,” said Herbert, reports The Salt Lake City Tribune. “We give local control for the regional differences, and I think we’ve struck the right balance.”
The governor has also begun placing state officials at the Salt Lake City airport, and at major roads leading into the state, in order to gather information about a person’s travel history, coronavirus status, and symptoms, if they’re looking to stay in the state, reports KSL. Furthermore, public schools will remain closed until at least May 1.
Among the places without a stay-at-home order is the nation’s least populous state, Wyoming. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) has defended the state’s reluctance to issue a sweeping order, arguing that the state has already implemented other measures.
“We do have a state of emergency in Wyoming. Anyone coming into our state, there is a 14-day quarantine. People are staying at home,” said Barrasso on Fox News. “But remember that people are spread out here. We only have about five people per square mile. We have been socially distancing the entire 130 years that we have been a state.”
Governor Mark Gordon (R-WY) has already closed certain businesses, including the dine-in portion of restaurants and bars, and has asked the public to limit travel outside of the home, reports The Casper Star Tribune.
The governor has also warned that the state is witnessing cases of community transmission of coronavirus, and has begun asking people traveling to the state to self-quarantine for 14 days, reports the news agency.

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