Iowa’s governor is relentless in her disregard for science and the lives of Iowans. Once again, she puts profit before the health and life of the very people she is supposed to care for and represent.
She insists that encouraging folks to do the right thing will do the trick. Well, here are some news for the governor — people don’t. What better proof than watching the news reports of the Super Bowl and bars packed with screaming fans not doing the “right thing.” There was profit this weekend, but there will be loss of lives in a few weeks.
Let’s keep in mind that our state has occupied a high-ranking place in infections per capita in recent months and is now dead last for vaccination rates. Over five thousand Iowans have lost their lives to the Coronavirus.
Is sad to see Iowa portrayed on the national news due to Kim Reynolds’ lack of leadership. The governor’s actions have earned her the name “COVID Kim” on the national stage.
After the governor’s announcement right before a busy weekend, I wondered what Latino business owners think about Reynolds lifting the mask mandate, social distancing and social gathering mandate and how it impacts them.
Merenciana (Meddy) Paulus, owner of Black Collar CrossFit expressed that she was shocked but not surprised when she saw the news.
“I don’t think we should lift up the restrictions. I think that should be done in different phases, although I am very fortunate because our gym members are very responsible,” she said. “I also have quite a few members that work in the medical field, that work in hospitals and share their experiences of what they see in the ER.”
Meddy also shared with me that as a business owner she’s going to keep the CDC rules in place. Her coaches wear face masks, use disinfecting equipment in between classes, and they only hold eight people in each class so they can keep social distancing.
“It is important that our members feel safe and stay healthy, it is our responsibility,” she said.
Stacey Robles, of family-owned business Bernardo’s Burritos, noted the added problems it may cause them with customers.
“The restrictions imposed had caused us to argue with many costumers as to why they have to wear a mask. Now that the restrictions have been lifted, costumers feel they no longer have to wear a mask and tell us that the governor has lifted restrictions,” she said. “It seems like it is a losing battle trying to have customers wear a mask for everyone’s protection while they are in our establishment. The sense of protection and hope that the mask mandate provided has now been taken from us, making us feel hopeless. We are still asking to wear a mask and social distance, but we can no longer make it a requirement.”
Lupita Castillo, Mundo Pequeño Child Care, said: “I’m not in agreement with the governor’s decision to ease the COVID-19 restrictions, and it actually scares me that she did that. As a business owner, I am going to continue with the restrictions I have in place. I don’t understand why Reynolds is doing this after all the deaths, the positive cases in the state, and the new version of the virus. I feel it is a lack of respect for all the people who has lost a loved one because of COVID-19. I was very surprised when I heard the news”.
Maria Uribe, Fashionistas Beauty Salon, commented: “I am not happy with the governor’s decision. I have two employees and for their and my own safety we decided that we are still going to require our clients to wear masks when they are in our establishment, same as us. One of my sisters in North Carolina has been infected by the Covid-19 three times already and it was very scary”.
She said that last year when there was a mask mandate, it was a headache because clients refused to wear the face mask, but with time people got used to it. Now that the rules are changing again, Maria knows she’s going to face the same issue with her clients again.
After speaking to business owners, I also reconnected to a reliable scientific presence in Iowa, Dr. Rossana Rosa, infectious disease specialist for Unity Point Des Moines to ask for her perspective about the governor’s decision.
“Very disturbing decision. Many people will interpret it as that we have already come out of the pandemic and everything is back to normal and we are still far from that,” she said. “The restrictions helped us out of the November peak, but the reality is that even that could have been prevented if we had restrictions much earlier. Frankly what I hope is that people in the community act with good judgment and wear masks, distancing themselves and avoiding congregating.”
If the governor’s motives were to help business recover, her mission was not accomplished. Small business owners have seen what the virus can do — some of them have experienced it at a personal level and the proclamation will likely take us backwards instead.
This loose approach towards a health crisis will likely hurt a vibrant part of our economy. Reynolds actions will likely prove deadly in a few weeks and hospitals, small businesses and front-line workers will feel the brunt of it.
Yes, we need our economy to recover, but we also want our loved ones to live. We don’t want more empty spaces at our dinner table, or tears at a funeral. What we need is sound, science base leadership. Trump leftovers won’t do.
by Claudia Thrane
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