Essential or non essential?
All over the news daily you hear the term “Essential”, and what is essential. Essential means “of the utmost importance” according to Merriam-Webster’s definition. No one will argue over the fact that law enforcement, first responders, medical personnel, truckers, and even the stock boy or cashier at your local grocery store are essential for the situation that we find ourselves. However, the lines of essential start become blurred as of lately. When you ask the question are gun stores, marijuana dispensaries, churches, and restaurants essential businesses you will find that there are many different opinions.
Gun stores sell guns, and the people that have been standing up to defend 2nd amendment rights say that they are essential. On the other side of the aisle, people that believe in more gun restrictions view that lobbyists are trying to use the pandemic to convert more citizens to the NRA. It doesn’t matter your stance, the fact is that with the pandemic gun sales spiked last month by 85% compared to last March 2019, and many of these purchases were by new gun owners. Many are afraid that the new owners are uneducated, and accidents will happen, but others believe that as jobs become hard to find and poverty rises that people will turn to crime and citizens need protection.
Marijuana is legal in 11 states and Washington DC. Marijuana has been deemed in these states to have medicinal properties that assist with various ailments to include stress and anxiety. One side of the argument that the dispensaries are essential is that medical marijuana is solving issues that medical personnel is too taxed to handle with pharmaceutical medications. Another argument to keep dispensaries open is that there is a fear that the people that shop at these dispensaries will turn to illegal sellers which could potentially spread the virus due to unregulated health practices. The arguments against keeping the dispensaries open are that marijuana is known for causing respiratory issues, people who should be seeking real medicines will turn to pot, and that people will not be screened and that a rise of recreation users will find loopholes.
Churches are protected by the separation of church and state. And everyone can practice their faiths and religions and can’t be persecuted or discriminated by the state for doing so. However, with the spread of the COVID-19, the federal movement and the CDC has recommended that groups should be limited to no more than 10 people at a time. Some states have made it illegal to have gathering larger than 10 until the pandemic is back under control. Arguments to keep the churches open and allowed mass meetings is that they are protected from these laws. The other reason that during these troubling times that people become more religious and want hope through faith. The argument that churches should be closed is that these mass meetings have been linked to outbreaks that have ravished communities. The highest percentage of churchgoers are in the high-risk categories and thus should be staying at home. And finally, the biggest argument for closures is that with so many platforms of social media and group applications, if the church leader wants to have “services” they can be done digitally.
The last category of business has strong feelings from the parties that either wants them to close or stay open, is restaurants. No one can argue that food is essential but paying for convenience might not be. While a large portion of American workers is employed through working at restaurants, the question will be for how much longer. As joblessness is on the rise the ability to order a pizza will become a luxury that many Americans will not be able to afford. The argument to keep restaurants open is that it helps the community by keeping a portion of the public employed, it helps essential workers be able to bring cooked food home after a long day, and finally keeping the restaurants open is an attempt to keep some sense of stability in the community by showing that somethings are still normal. The opposition for having any restaurants open is that there is no way to keep social distancing in a restaurant kitchen, that the amount of income for some employees is lower than what they might qualify for in unemployment, and lastly the restaurants can be vectors of spreading the virus to citizens, such as children, that are trying to do the right thing.
Each of these establishments is deemed either essential or non-essential depending on location. I am not one to say that this place can or cannot be open, I am just saying that we need to be aware. Lastly, I leave you with the only true advice I can give, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay at home as much as you can, and lastly if you do leave the house whatever you bring into the house could be carrying the virus so wash/disinfect every new item brought in. Take care of your selves and each other and shop local when you can.
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