coronavirus

Is Trump's May 1 Goal to Reopen the Country Realistic?

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As the coronavirus death toll escalates and states like Massachusetts head toward peak weeks, a ramp-up of mask usage and the strictest of social distancing orders, President Donald Trump has been sending the message that he wants to reverse those measures.

"We are going to be opening up, you can call it opening, very, very soon, I hope," he said.

Reports of Trump, concerned about the sagging economy, looking to May 1 as a possible date to re-open the country for business has many concerned and skeptical.

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Peter Cohan, an economic analyst at Babson College, was asked if it is a realistic date.

"No," he said. "The idea of people being close to each other in society now without having any kind of a vaccine is a recipe for reinfection."

"It's something we have to plan, not a few days out, but a few weeks out," said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Hurst says he isn't sure about Trump's May 1 date, "but I do believe he's right in this measure. That we need to start having a discussion."

Hurst would like Massachusetts to consider what other northeastern states are doing, allowing business owners to work behind locked doors, at least, to fill online orders or allow for curbside pick-up.

"At some point, they're going to be at the end of the ropes and just closing the doors and never reopen," Hurst said.

But Cohan says something else is needed to prevent that scenario.

"We need to have a lot more federal money going into keeping things going until we can solve this problem," he said.

Even if Trump does call for the country to reopen soon, Cohan says, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will likely offer his own guidance on what he thinks is best for the state.

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