By Annette Quijada
With California reaching over a million COVID-19 cases, Governor Newsom’s decision to reopen outdoor dining is a disaster. Hospitalizations and Covid deaths have increased since the second closure in November, reopening will only add to these numbers.
The rush of reopening widely comes from the conservative agenda that the economy is taking a big hit. And although this is true, the economy can be rebuilt with time. Lives lost cannot be regained.
Only 13.1% of Californians have received the vaccine. This small amount is not enough to let people fill malls and restuarants. Many will use the vaccine as an excuse to no longer wear a mask or follow social distancing safety procedures; this will not sit well with health care workers.
Reopening would have been more appropriate if California would’ve reached over 50% of citizens vaccinated. Even once everyone receives the vaccine, it does not confirm that a person would be immune to the virus.
A mask is still highly recommended to wear, as vaccination doesn’t mean one should not follow the COVID guidelines.
Former East Los Angeles College Student, Janay Covarrubias, who works retail in the popular location, the Glendale Galleria Mall, said “As a retail worker I feel very uncomfortable with the reopening of dining because of the lack of enforcement of safety precautions and face masks not used even when people aren’t dining.
“I’m risking my own health as well as the health of others in my low-income community every time I come home.”
Just like Covarrubias, a lot of young people are retail and restaurant workers who are at risk to bring the virus to their homes and communities.
Reopening outdoor dining is not ideal, and the people should not be sacrificed for the rise of the economy. The United States has managed to come back from recessions multiple times. It’ll be able to manage it after the pandemic has improved.
Newsom’s sudden decision could also be politically motivated, due to the results of “Rescue California,” a recall campaign aimed at Newsom.
According to their website, rescuecalifornia.org, they currently have over the 1.5 million signatures that were required by a judge for them to have by March 17. The pressure from not wanting to lose his office influenced his actions.
It’s also come to light that investigators at Cedars-Sinai discovered a new strain of COVID labeled “CAL.20C,” which made its first appearance in California in October 2020.
In a video uploaded on cedars-sinai.org, Dr. Eric Vail said, “Over the last two months, November and December, (the new strain) coincided right with the big spike in cases that we saw in Los Angeles and Southern California.”
With the rise of cases and not enough knowledge of the infection spread by the strain, this should’ve been taken into account when deciding the reopening.
California’s government has failed to protect its people from the virus and the new strain. Newsom’s living in fear of being recalled has caused him to make reckless decisions and will result in more COVID-related cases.