Merkley, Walden say reopening economy needs to be responsible

While the nation’s top infectious disease expert urged everyone Wednesday to pump the brakes on calls to reopen the economy, two Oregon lawmakers in Washington, D.C. expressed their concerns about reopening too soon.

“And the one way not to reopen the economy is to have a rebound that we can’t take care of,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a daily briefing with President Donald Trump. “So please, again, let me just close by pleading with the American public in general and those who are the responsible leaders, to carefully consider how we get back to normal.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said reopening done right means states need a lot more PPEs, testing and contact tracing. But it also rests on companies finding and sharing things that work.

“It’s looking at the best practices that have come out of those companies that are open for essential services, like grocery stores, and say, what are they doing that is working?” said Merkley in an interview with KATU News. “So if we know from follow-up that no infections in grocery stores are happening because they have one-way aisles, because people are wearing masks, because the clerks are wearing masks, because they’re deep cleaning the store at night. If we know that, then we have a set of strategies that can be expanded to other retail enterprises.”

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, said it’s not going to be a light switch. It’s going to happen gradually.

“The balance here is not opening too much too soon that brings the virus back in a way that undoes everything that we’ve done so far, but opening enough and safely and continuously, that we can get people back to work,” he told KATU.

They both said they understand Oregonians want to get back to work, but they said we need to do it in a responsible way.