Opinion: Businesses should not open during the pandemic

Jacqueline Gutierrez, Assistant Opinions Editor

For the past six months, the state government has highly encouraged to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19, but whenever case numbers decrease, local and state officials decide to reopen closed businesses, causing case numbers to rise again.  

In theory, businesses could reopen safely, but not everyone follows the COVID-19 guidelines, which are staying six feet apart and wearing a mask. And business owners and employees may not be able to monitor everyone because of staff shortages. Until business owners, employees and clients are able to follow the CDC guidelines businesses should remain closed to keep the public safe.  

“If businesses do begin to reopen as cases begin to lower, some precautions that I hope business owners keep for a while is the use of masks because although the case numbers would go down, there is still a risk of catching COVID. I also hope they keep the number of people in the stores to a smaller amount…,” Jimmy Valdovinos, a junior at California State University, Bakersfield said.  

Kern County, as well as many other counties in California, are still considered widespread areas, which means more than 8% of COVID-19 tests taken are positive, according to the California COVID-19 website.  

In Kern County, both essential and nonessential businesses are open with outdoor and capacity modifications.  

Throughout Bakersfield, I have seen many restaurants only offering outdoor dining, and I believe that can limit the spread of COVID-19, but since Kern County is still considered a widespread area, it is not the safest option.  

Even if cases go down, businesses should not reopen because, at the beginning of the shutdowns, case numbers went down but as soon as government officials decided to open up states, case numbers rose again.  

“I would recommend still implementing the same guidelines as the CDC suggests because I feel like it has kept our numbers down. Because looking back when businesses started to reopen again, everyone thought COVID-19 was over, and that’s why we had such high numbers than what we saw prior to businesses reopening…,” Chrisitan Rodriguez, a senior at CSUB, said.  

In addition to the public’s health, the guidelines have made people feel safer. Looking back at life before the guidelines and shutdowns, it is uncomfortable how close we would let complete strangers get to us at the stores, how we would gather in huge groups in such small spaces, and how we would not think much about when we got the common cold.   

When I go to the supermarket or out to run errands, I see people violating multiple guidelines. We are six months into a pandemic and I still see people wearing their mask incorrectly, not wearing a mask at all, removing their mask, standing closer than six feet, and going out and partying.  

If people cannot comply with simple guidelines while most businesses are still closed and certain restrictions are still in place, why should we believe that they will follow the guidelines when businesses are open? The Kern population has shown that many of them are unwilling to keep each other safe by following the CDC guidelines. Until we can learn to prioritize our health nonessential businesses should remained closed.