US: Amid lockdown, pro-wrestling, beaches, gyms become 'essential' for Americans
Professional wrestling in Florida, sex shops in South Carolina and many golf courses across the United States continue to remain open.
With nonessential businesses and activities mandated to be closed and Americans being ordered to stay at home in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus, the list of exemptions in most states of the United States is long, curious and controversial.
Griff Witte and Hannah Knowles wrote in an article published in The Washington Post, that people in the US are choosing to re-open pro-wrestling matches, gyms and beaches to break the monotony of a long period of quarantine.
This week, it even brought protesters to the streets in state capitals for non-socially distanced demonstrations as a backlash against stay-at-home orders grows, the authors added.
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But the question of what is essential has its own implications at the same time as the deadly contagion so far infected more than 672,000 people in the country and killed more than 30,000 others, the article said.
"Whenever you loosen the stay-at-home orders, you rapidly expand the contact networks for potential transmission," Ellie Murray, an epidemiologist from Boston University, was quoted.
"Lockdown is working. But some of these exceptions are creating big problems," she added.
Florida officials confirmed this week that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) will be counted as "an essential service" and that athletes could continue to throw, spin and slam each other-- provided they were not performing in front of a live audience.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) defended the decision, saying people had "been starved for content" -- a comment that echoed WWE's claim that it was "now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times", the Post reported.
The wrestling federation also said it would take precautions, including pre-match health screenings and extensive cleaning of the ring. But Murray said it would not be difficult to imagine the virus spreading, not only among the wrestlers "but also to their families, to people at the store. You have to consider all the people they're coming into contact with."
The wrestling federation has also backed the decision saying it would take precautions, including pre-match health screenings and extensive cleaning of the ring.
But Murray opined it would not be difficult to imagine the virus spreading, not only among the wrestlers "but also to their families, to people at the store. You have to consider all the people they're coming into contact with" - which, of course, was the original idea behind the stay-at-home orders now enacted in 45 states, requiring people to limit their activities to the bare minimum and for businesses to close their doors until necessary.
Groceries, pharmacies and hospitals have been exempted everywhere. But in many places, landscapers, home improvement stores and office-supply shops also remained open, including everything from sex shops to gyms in South Carolina.
Governor Henry McMaster (R) further continues to advocate for a standard different from essential or nonessential, asking instead whether a business can be conducted safely.
"Every business is essential to somebody, particularly the one working there," McMaster said at a news conference Monday.
The politician was in a view that the state is required closure only among businesses that seem most likely to spread the virus: barbershops where personal contact is unavoidable, for example, or clothing and shoe stores where people are touching and returning items.
Similarly in Michigan, Republicans have revolted against the second layer of restrictions implemented by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who last week banned stores from selling items including flooring, furniture, plants and paint.
The measures shrank Michigan's essential-business list and represented some of the most stringent rules in the nation. More than 2,000 Michigan residents have died of COVID-19, and nearly 30,000 have tested positive.
Furthermore, the fate of gun dealers and golf course owners across the nation has been a point of, particularly intense lobbying.
In South Carolina, where the governor says he's aiming to keep as much of the economy going as possible, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said he's baffled by some of the businesses that have been deemed essential.
As the line between essential and nonessential has begun to shift, Washington state has had eight to 10 people processing 17,000 requests for clarifications about what qualifies as essential business, Alejandro Sanchez, special assistant to Gov. Jay Inslee (D) was quoted by the newspaper.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump revealed his administration's step-by-step plan to "Open Up America Again," though he said that, ultimately, the decision to begin easing shutdowns would be left to the discretion of state governors. While some states have already considered plans to loosen measures in the coming weeks; others decided to extend the lockdowns further until the virus completely dies down.