We continue to worry about the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 orders, warnings and restrictions.
One of those concerns is that the government orders are hurting local and smaller businesses far more than larger companies, Goliath big-box stores and Amazon.
Restaurants, bars and fitness centers seem to be a focus of state orders and local actions on the Eastern Shore, Maryland, and throughout the country.
Those operations are either locally owned small businesses or locally owned franchises. Their employees are our neighbors.
We know there are essential businesses that need to remain open such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
But the restrictions have certainly helped big-box stores and most notably Amazon.
Some consumers are too afraid to venture out much. Others have been restricted by all the various COVID mandates. Consumers are going to naturally find the best and easiest ways to buy products.
All the restrictions and orders propel e-commerce.
Last time we checked, Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos — the richest person in the world who could potentially add cable news networks to his empire — did not need any more competitive advantages as e-commerce continues to grow.
But that is exactly what is happening across Maryland and the country.
The latest batch of COVID orders in Maryland and other states require restaurants and bars to close early and restrict capacities at fitness centers, churches and stores.
Other states, including California and Ohio, are imposing overnight curfews in response to the recent rise in reported COVID-19 cases.
We are having a hard time figuring out how overnight curfews and late-night diners are key to curbing the virus. But we live in an age where California closes its beaches while its governor enjoyed a five-star meal at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley and where the New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be up for an Emmy.
Many of our neighbors have seen lost jobs, cut hours and pay cuts. We are going to see more of those pains with the latest batch of restrictions and drumbeat of warnings not to travel over the holidays.
That is going to lead to more consumer fear which reverberates throughout the economy locally and nationally.
We do not disagree with protecting public health for those most vulnerable to the virus — seniors, those with underlying health conditions and especially those in nursing homes.
But again we worry about the freedoms and liberties we are giving up and the social and economic impacts.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has stressed a balance between protecting health while not destroying our economy. But he has recently warned of arrests and fines for businesses and individuals who don’t go along with mask and social distancing orders.
We also wonder how much power and control Cuomo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are going to give up considering their track records.
We will continue to hope Hogan and our local health officials will at least look to find balance in their approaches to the virus.
Let’s hope they do not follow a restrictive path that continues to hurt small businesses and kills local jobs and our liberties.