CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Still months before he is to be sworn into office, an advisor from President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board has suggested the idea for the entire United States to enter a nationwide lockdown.
Although details from Dr. Michael Osterholm’s suggestion remain limited, the idea is for the entire United States to enter a lockdown that could last anywhere from four to six weeks.
In this idea, Osterholm said those who stay at home would be paid for their lost income from money borrowed by the government.
“I don’t think America quite gets this yet. This is going to get much worse. This is not to scare people out of their wits, this is to scare people into their wits to understand that,” Osterholm told CNBC. “Because we still have control. We can basically limit the contacts we have with people. That will dramatically impact our risk of getting this disease.”
Meanwhile in the Coastal Bend, where most Texas businesses are at 75 percent capacity with mask mandates to match — one worker, who cites previous failures with the last statewide shutdown, is far from supportive of the idea.
“Another lockdown would really hurt me and probably put me out of a home,” said Chops & Eggs server Moses Nucete. “Unemployment didn’t do, didn’t do jack. For anybody.”
Nucete, instead, suggests continuing life the way it currently is.
“We have to adjust,” he said. “We can’t just keep walking down the country, we can’t keep putting people out of work, we can’t, you know, risk that they are going to lose their homes. We can keep things the way they are — or we can go back to 50% — but shutting down the country entirely for four weeks is not ideal.”
In the north side of Corpus Christi lies Frank’s Produce, a quaint, semi-outdoor shop complete with pinatas and candles that’s been open for more than 40 years.
Owner Roland Garza, on the other hand, said he welcomed the idea of a closure back in March so his business could take a break, but that never happened.
“For the safety of the citizens, yeah, you probably would have to do something like that,” Garza said. “Six weeks, four weeks might be extreme, but there’s a lot of areas that do need a lot of help .”
Although he wouldn’t have concerns with staff since his business is a small operation, he said he knows another closure could put some newer businesses out on their last leg.
“They do have employees that they got to take care of. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve always had family working here,” Garza said. “We’ll be fine, but other places, I don’t think they’ll be totally on board… There’s a lot of businesses that won’t be able to recover, they’re already hurting already.”
Still, he believes that paying individuals for those lost wages isn’t a bad idea.
“That would work here,” Garza said. “I think other countries have tried that even before COVID, when they’re laying people off, some of the governments take over and pay up to 80% of a person salary.”
According to CNBC, a representative for Biden did not respond to their request for comment.