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Reopening Stamford: Are we Ready?

May 6, 2020

As state officials discuss whether some essential businesses should be allowed to reopen May 20 in Connecticut, two of our staff writers take on the issue.

Connecticut is Not ready to Reopen

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An April 28 article in the Stamford Advocate  talks about reopening Stamford. Governor Lamont said that we can reopen within as early as a week. I disagree with that idea. Stamford has the most cases of the virus in Connecticut. We can’t start opening up until those numbers go down. If we start to reopen the virus might spread again and the infection rate will rise.

The virus isn’t something we can take lightly. It’s very dangerous, so if restaurants start opening up and people start going out more and don’t follow the six feet rule we’re gonna have even bigger issues than we do now. I understand that we all have been inside for almost two months and everyone is “over it.” Many people are losing their jobs and not making any money because of Covid. People aren’t just suffering from the virus, they are also suffering from losing money. But we still need to be safe to get back to normal. Lots of people have lost family members and close friends to this virus, and I’m sure those people want this to end and for our state to get it under control.

Yale epidemiologist  Dr. Albert Ko recently predicted that this virus will be around for a while and said we need to remember that, “This is a virus which is very transmissible. This is a virus that’s not going to go away. It’s not going to go away even with our best public health prevention and control measures. We’re always going to have the threat of resurgence.” Clearly, the city of Stamford needs to stay inside. The numbers are going down in Stamford, but that’s only because we are following the rules.  

I disagree with the idea of opening up in as little as a week. We should be quarantining for at least two more weeks just to be safe. 

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Stamford Must Reopen Soon

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According to an article in the Stamford Advocate, city officials are considering forming a committee of business and community leaders to discuss the possibility of reopening Stamford after its COVID-19 Stay-At-Home advisory. It would be fortunate if this is done in a timely manner, for it is imperative that the city’s reopening process begins and completes soon, or we will all see the consequences. 

First off, our city is home to dozens of small, family-run businesses, ranging from hair salons to diners. It is inevitable that many of these have had to shut down in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus are struggling financially. Others, who were lucky enough to be deemed as “essential,” still must face the setback of a lack of customers. All must pay for the rent of their commercial space, even if it is not in everyday use. If such businesses are not allowed to return to normal procedures soon, we may lose some of Stamford’s most loved establishments. 

Furthermore, an extension of “distanced learning” (which Stamford Public Schools has implemented to continue education remotely) may damage the academic ability of Stamford youth for years to come. At Stamford High School, for example, 52% of students are economically disadvantaged (U.S. News and World Report). These students are no doubt struggling to attend virtual classes every day, either due to technological issues or other family obligations. Returning to physical school as soon as possible is the only way to guarantee that these students are receiving an adequate education and creating a necessary intellectual foundation for their upcoming years. 

Stamford is “The City that Works”. We pride ourselves on our economic rigor and the affluence of our youth, which is rusting away while we stay confined to our homes. Albeit being for good reason, we cannot continue living this way forever. Stamford’s government must act fast in its plan to reopen; if it does not, we will all see permanent damage to our beloved city.

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