A number of Democratic leaders have changed their position on the effectiveness of their own COVID-19 lockdown restrictions since the end of the 2020 elections.
Despite COVID-19 cases rising in New York, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted, “We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.”
We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.#SOTS2021
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 11, 2021
This statement comes after previous policies from his leadership shut down thousands of businesses, with the latest ban being enforced as recently as December. Cuomo has also faced legal pushback from restaurant owners who have contested the basis of his lockdowns. (RELATED: Restaurants Win Lawsuit Challenging Cuomo’s Coronavirus Restrictions, Are Allowed To Reopen)
Since March, lockdown orders have been a prominent aspect of the coronavirus response in many Democratic states. Many members of the media have echoed similar sentiments, urging the public to shut down their businesses to slow the spread of the virus. This has put a burden on thousands of small businesses and restaurants nationwide.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared a similar change in position as Cuomo on Thursday when she announced she was looking forward to getting restaurants and bars open “as quickly as possible.” She previously issued a renewed stay-at-home order due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Chicago back in November.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Chicago restaurants and bars need to be allowed to reopen “as quickly as possible” to cut down on instances of private parties where people don’t take proper precautions against COVID-19. https://t.co/EC4Df2tFs7
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 14, 2021
“I am very, very focused on getting our restaurants to reopen,” Lightfoot said Thursday, according to WGN9. “The various criteria the state has set, we are meeting most of those.”
During the pandemic, the CDC has suggested that indoor dining and drinking at bars and restaurants are among the riskiest activities for spreading the virus. However, Lightfoot claims the ban on indoor service pushed people to host secret hotel gatherings and underground parties.
“If we have people and give them an outlet for entertainment … we have much more of an opportunity, in my view, to be able to regulate and control that environment,” said Lightfoot, according to WGN9.
The Illinois Restaurant Association conducted a survey recently that showed 20% of owners believe they will go out of business in the next several months if they aren’t able to reopen.
The U.S. is still experiencing rising COVID-19 cases daily. More than 23 million cases and 389,581 deaths have been counted since the start of the pandemic, according to John Hopkins University.