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The local plea to reopen

I have a lot of sympathy, but I don’t think this is a great idea.

A coalition of 350 local businesses is urging Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Lina Hidalgo to begin May 1 to ease stay-at-home restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, warning many firms cannot survive additional weeks of forced closures.

The impromptu association, calling itself the Houston Coronavirus Business Group, said in identical letters to the leaders Wednesday that a balance must be struck between the medical community’s desire to keep cases and deaths down and the need to limit damage to the economy.

The group said business leaders should have an equal influence in extending restrictions beyond April 30 as doctors, who they said fail to grasp the severe economic damage wrought by the “draconian” stay-at-home order.

“These good folks aren’t business or economic experts, and they don’t see or understand the economic spiral that we are currently experiencing and the human toll a complete shutdown will ravage in terms of lives, mental health, physical wellbeing, crime, poverty, etc.,” the letter states.

The letter is the first organized push by members of the business community against restrictions of movement and commerce since the pandemic reached the Houston area.

The virus is expected to peak in the Houston area in late April or early May, health experts say, calling it a potentially disastrous time to permit residents to again congregate in restaurants, offices and playgrounds.

“The virus will and should dictate when we lift restrictions,” said Baylor College of Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Klotman. “It makes no sense to artificially pick a date based on what we wish to happen.”

Let me say first that however you feel about this effort, I’m glad these guys didn’t resort to crap like this or this. I don’t have a good answer for them. Ideally, the federal government would have fully stepped in to ease the burden on these businesses, but the first round of assistance is already gone, with a lot of it not going to the businesses that needed it the most, and who knows what will come next or when it may come. There are some local efforts to help restaurants, like this one Mayor Turner just launched, which I consider to be a very high priority. But ultimately, until there is sufficiently widespread testing and the ability to track the movements of those who catch the virus, anything we do to loosen restrictions now is just a huge risk. I mean, a much wider pandemic with a much higher death rate isn’t going to be good for anyone’s business, either. I wish there were something more we could do.

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21 Comments

  1. Jules says:

    We need more money for small businesses and individuals.

    If all restrictions were eliminated today, it would only increase the white-collar/blue-collar divide. Companies aren’t going to tell people who are working from home to go back to offices. Not for awhile.

    Yes, more testing and tracking is much needed.

  2. David Fagan says:

    This petition was started by Jon Silberman, who is managing partner of the NAI Partners firm. One of the largest real estate companies in Texas and a part of NAI Global, which is headquartered in, wait for it, NEW YORK CITY!?!?!! (Get a rope). Correct me if I’m wrong, but New York is complaining about not enough being done and they want us to release restrictions? There’s something wrong with that, but that is a persistent problem in Houston. The problem is large businesses from outside Texas telling local folks how to support THEIR community. Go back to New York NAI Global. This petition was first reported on on April 9, which shows extra disregard. They may say doctors don’t comprehend business, but when Houston has some of the best doctors in the history of the world, who do you listen to for personal health. NAI global, being the great business people they claim, should have a financial plan for this, and it does not rest on the safety of local neighbors. I am looking forward to deflation, a natural part of business. Allow the business cycles go through their cycle, even with a virus like this one. NAI Global may have to just lower their rents.

    Housing prices going down, along with tax rates.

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    Why did the federal government give 60 billion to bail out airlines? Why not bail out unemployed workers, small business, and at risk workers?

    The cities themselves and high density living may become casualties of this pandemic.

  4. Airlines are a major portion of interstate commerce. They can’t go down. Airlines are like the interstate in my opinion.

  5. David Brown says:

    Then they should be federalized.

  6. Jules says:

    How long will it be before people are flying again? When will there be conventions again? I don’t see business travel going back to what it was. Or even going to the office.

    It’s crazy to me that people are flying now. I can’t see ever packing myself in like that again.

  7. robert says:

    airlines get money but the Post Office is on its own?

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    I get your point about Post Office but it is dying don’t you think?

  9. Ross says:

    @Paul, Fedex and UPS would be dying if they were required to deliver mail to any address in the United States for the same rate. One example of that I saw is the Havasupi tribe that lives on the floor of the Grand Canyon. USPS delivers first class mail there by mules for the same rate as sending mail across Houston. Fedex and UPS are also not required to prefund retirement benefits to the extent USPS is.

  10. Paul Kubosh says:

    Post office is awesome I get it but reality is where I spent thousands a year on postage I now text and email clients. My postage use has been slashed. I can’t be the only one.

  11. Ross says:

    @Paul, you are right that lots of folks don’t use the mail nearly as much today. However, the poor use it all the time, since they don’t have as much internet access. Older folks use it a lot as well, since many of them are not computer users. It’s also the only way to send greeting cards with a personal message, send certified or registered letters, etc. I have a friend who lives 7 miles out of a small town. He still uses mail for everything, since he has unreliable rural internet.

  12. Paul Kubosh says:

    It took a while for light bulbs to replace candles but they did. Just my opinion.

  13. Manny says:

    Post office is necessary, until it is not. I personally mail very few items, I wonder how you send out certified letters? How do you notify people who don’t have phones? How would the courts notify people to appear as jurors? How would politicians send out all that cheap political mailers that go first class but only require that they pay bulk rate.

    The post office is successful, it is the Republicans that have worked to kill it. I personally think that would be okay because the ones most effected are those Trump voters that live in fly over country, poor guys would have trouble voting by mail that is not so cheap.

  14. robert says:

    They deliver mail for the military, PO Boxes , Amazon shipments, They should be able to do banking for people that can’t get mainstream banking,also, they need to fund their retirement pensions unlike ANY business or government entity.

    I don’t use bail bonds businesses and don’t know anyone does…is there a need for them, I wouldn’t know based on my personal experience.

    Why do Republicans want to privatize the post office….because it is profitable….follow the money.

  15. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    You’ve been smoking too much mota again. I don’t know any Trump supporter or Republican that wants to do away with the USPS. It’s one of the few government agencies that is actually enshrined in the Constitution. I could name plenty of federal government agencies I’d like to disband, or disband and give responsibility for very specific subsets of their oversight to another department.

    The USPS is not one of them. Personally, I think they do a pretty good job, all things considered, and my experience has been, most people have problems with that ‘last mile,’ their local route carrier. If you have a crappy route carrier, you’ll have a lot of lost or misdelivered mail. If you have a conscientious mailman, you’ll have very little lost or misdelivered mail. I’ve experienced both examples.

  16. Manny says:

    Bill you must have selective reading, that is giving you the benefit of the doubt. You are just a typical paid troll that lies, and lies, and then lies some more.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/11/post-office-bailout-trump/

    All of a sudden you are a Republican when you keep saying you are a Libertarian.

    So save your insults and go post your stupidity at Big Jolly, the other idiots agree with you there.

  17. Manny says:

    Bill here is another link about about Republicans and the Post Office.

    https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-01-09/postal-service-trump

    Go protest without a mask and then refuse treatment if you come down with the virus, show how manly you are.

  18. Manny says:

    Start your own blog Bill, I am sure there are more than enough idiots that will believe the bull you write.

    Or as Jules says, shut up and go away.

  19. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Your LA Times article is a few unsubstantiated, spurious allegations, with virtually zero facts. The closest thing to a fact in the article is this:

    ” it’s proper to note that Trump hectored her relentlessly over such issues as the service’s consistent deficits and the fees it charges Amazon.com for package deliveries. Trump claimed that Amazon, which is controlled by his bete noire Jeff Bezos, was getting a sweetheart deal, which Brennan openly disputed.”

    So Trump hectored the department head because the Post Office isn’t breaking even and is giving sweetheart deals to private shippers for that ‘last mile’ delivery service? WTF do you expect Trump to say? He’s a business man. He expects things to be run like a business. The USPS is a constitutionally mandated government business.

    The WaPo story isn’t much better. Trump doesn’t want to spend taxpayer money to bail out the USPS. Um, OK, he expects the USPS to carry its own water. Is that unreasonable, especially in a time where people are having a marked increase in package deliveries to their homes? That particular part of the business should be making MORE money. The fact that it isn’t is why Trump is hectoring the USPS. Charge Chinese shippers, Amazon, those pesky political campaigns and other bulk mailers, FedEx and UPS, appropriate rates for delivering their packages and mail. It’s not rocket science, Manny, and it doesn’t mean Trump or his supporters, like me, want to eliminate the Post Office.

    Like I said, maybe lay off the loco weed. Second hand smoke is harmful to your loved ones.

  20. Manny says:

    Bill you are still a liar, no one hear cares about your lies, go to Big Jolly you get a few thumbs up for the idiotic things you say.

    Bill Daniels
    2 days ago

    “Even though Trump kept his presidential campaign promises and did make America great again….”

    So, even though Trump, by any metric, is a successful president who has finally put Americans and America first for a change, Orange Man still bad. Have I got that about right?

    Howie, you really need to just give it up and go join your compadres over at Off the Kuff.
    1 thumb up, 3 down, oh my

    Bill Daniels
    22 hours ago

    “I happen to think he brought in the best minds and leaders to deal with the outbreak.”

    I disagree. Fauci and Birx are both compromised. They are tied up with Bill Gates and his vaccine quest, and both seem to be doing everything in their power to quash hydrochloroquine/z pack treatment, because, being off patent, there’s not a huge amount of money to be made vs. coming up with a vaccine

    The interests of Fauci and Birx are not the interests of the American people, and definitely not the interest of the American economy.


    1 thumb up, 2 down, oh my

    Bill they don’t even believe your bs over there.

    As Joel says, SHUT UP and GO AWAY