Welcome to our Grand Re-Re-Opening

Screenshot from Bob’s Burgers

After three months of social distancing, we are itching to change our routines. We’re worried about our collective economic livelihoods. We’re worried about our collective mental health. We need to put purpose back into our lives again.

This is why I’m not entirely surprised that the talk of the town is on reopening our economy. It’s a conversation that has to happen for obvious reasons. Provinces are laying out step by step plans to reintroduce economic activity into the regular lives of it’s citizens. New Brunswick has lead the charge by developing a phased plan to reopen their economy. Here in Ontario, the government has laid out it’s plan to reopen parts of the economy.

Across the country a patchwork of plans are coming together to navigate a course back towards prosperity. The issue though is that we are not all on a level playing field. It’s important to remember that despite our best efforts to flatten the curve through social distancing, COVID-19 is still prevalent and a real threat. We have not beaten this virus.

In Canada, we look to our neighbors to our south in shock and dismay at their rush to reopen their economy. With more deaths than the Vietnam War already at 80,000 and climbing, it’s hard to see how they are effectively handling this pandemic. States are reopening with a fevered rush to promote economic activity over safeguarding the lives of their citizens. Despite warnings from their top scientist on the pandemic. The rush to reopen their economy is bordering on grotesque.

Here in Canada we are not immune from such rushes to reopen. In Quebec, Premier Legault is reopening their schools and daycares, despite the data showing that new cases are still appearing in Quebec. He seems to be expelling political capital to do so as his polling numbers have taken a hit recently. The result has turned all eyes in Canada on Quebec to see how they will fare in the coming weeks.

It’s clear that there is no exact science or procedure to reopening a national economy in the middle of a global pandemic. I’m afraid we’ll probably be stumbling around looking for the best way forward. This may be a litmus test for us as a society. Will we put human lives over economic activity? It might be important to remember that our economy can’t exist without humans.

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