The answer is very simple – take action. I have bad news for anyone who is sitting back waiting for Governors around the country to voluntarily declare the all clear – it is not happening.  Unless you are prepared to remain closed for eighteen months, you have two options: litigation and grassroots action.  On the litigation end, the orders of Governor Wolf and others like him are unconstitutional.  They are completely arbitrary.  There is simply no medical evidence to support their claims that certain businesses or more or less likely to spread the virus. Grocery stores remain open, but construction sites do not? Governors should be forced in Court to support the absurd suggestion that shutting down construction sites will slow the spread of the virus but keeping beer distributors open will not.

Also, state government should be forced to pay compensation to the businesses they have ruined through their arbitrary actions.  The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution and most state constitutions require the government to pay just compensation to property the government seizes. The most familiar example of this is eminent domain, which is when the government pays compensation to a property owner for property that is appropriated for public use, like the construction of a road or school.  But it is well settled the 5th Amendment right to compensation applies to regulatory actions that render a business owner incapable using his business in anyway possible.

In addition to litigation, business owners must exercise their First Amendment right, which apparently has not been suspended by fiat – at least yet, to pressure elected officials for a more rational approach. One that is grounded in science and facts. Here is another idea – business owners should demand that any Governor requiring a shut down should forgo his or her salary until the shutdown is over – likewise for any public health officials that are guiding them.

There is also another reason to pressure elected officials. The longer the public allows their conduct to go unchallenged the more likely these same same officials will use emergency powers in the future for any host of reason of more dubious emergencies – global warming is one that immediately comes to mind.

I do not know if sitting back and waiting for a bunch of bureaucrats to let you know when to open you business will  “flatten the curve,” but I do know it will hasten your march to bankruptcy.  These officials are not kings. The governor at the consent of the governed.  Its time the governed start reminding them of that.

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