Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas minced no words in a Thursday op-ed calling to "Let America Open," after more than two months of stay-at-home orders and a severely throttled economy. Writing for Newsweek, the freshman congressman from Texas's 21st district painted a grim picture of the America that has been left to ruins amid the lockdowns.
As a result of our collective response to the coronavirus and government-mandated shutdowns, we've watched our favorite businesses and restaurants close doors over the past two months—many of them for good. We've watched our friends and neighbors lose everything. We've watched our communities crumble outside our living room windows while government bureaucrats tell us, "listen to us, we know best."
When the federal, state and local governments asked Americans to socially distance and take other measures to "flatten the curve" in order to not overwhelm our medical supply chain and infrastructure, Americans largely rose to the challenge. We were presented a reasonable short-term goal, with time to prepare, and we embraced it to "socially distance," pause and save lives.
But governments at all levels have taken it too far with prolonged, widespread shutdowns that are putting the very fabric of our nation at risk. The truth is that if we don't reopen society soon, the consequences will be more widespread and longer-lasting than the direct effects of coronavirus itself. Government action is not only directly responsible, but it is psychologically destroying one of the most important elements of our societal well-being: confidence.
More than 100,000 American small businesses across have closed their doors for good since the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus. Others contemplate their futures as past due bills for rent, utilities, and other expenses pile up. More than 35 million Americans have filed for unemployment over just two months.
Let's work together to protect each other while we live. Let's do the one thing that will genuinely make a difference. Let America Open. https://t.co/slmsrBTh2E— Rep. Chip Roy (@RepChipRoy) May 15, 2020
Congress has, thus far, approved a staggering $2 trillion plus in emergency funding for America, including $700 billion in stimulus for small businesses. The amount of money some businesses are receiving, however, isn't nearly enough to save them from closing forever without any guaranteed revenue or a set date of reopening.
Despite this, governors across the country have stood firm in their insistence on keeping Americans safe from COVID-19 infection be legally mandating that they stay home. Protests in many states, however, have shown that people are getting fed up with being told their livelihoods are "nonessential."
Rep. Roy also highlighted another problem being brought on by prolonged lockdowns: degradation of mental health.
Already, Americans are saying the coronavirus outbreak is negatively impacting their health. Fifty-six percent of U.S. adults report that worry or stress related to the coronavirus outbreak has caused them to experience at least one negative effect on their mental health and well-being, like trouble sleeping or eating, increased alcohol use or worsening chronic conditions.
The congressman also pointed out concern over increased suicide rates, spikes in cases child abuse, and a noted uptick in violent crimes across the country.
"People are self-interested beings; we want to survive," Roy said. "Let's work together to protect each other while we live. Let's do the one thing that will genuinely make a difference. Let America open."