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Protesters descended on the Missouri Capitol grounds Tuesday to demand the state reopen to business.

For weeks, Missouri — as well as cities and counties within the state — have imposed harsh restrictions that have crippled our economy.

We get it, protesters. You want government to get out of your way, especially when it deals with your rights and liberties.

We too are exasperated by the stay-at-home orders, the self-isolation, the social distancing.

We're tired of the inconveniences of having to avoid stores and restaurants. We miss our colleagues and our friends and extended families.

What's worse, many of us have suffered a loss of income that will quickly dwarf our government stimulus checks. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be for businesses, especially small businesses, to recover. Some won't.

But, as much as we agree with you on all this, we hope Gov. Mike Parson and other state officials will ignore your calls to immediately open the state.

That would mean dropping the restrictions designed to protect us from the quick-spreading coronavirus.

Protesters and politicians may differ in their opinions on this, but health experts — the contingent whose only consideration is safety — are in agreement. They know that opening the state to business too soon will defeat the work we've done to flatten the curse of the virus and lessen the sickness and deaths.

Parson did the right thing by acknowledging the protesters' rights to protest. No heavy-handed gestapo tactics were used to break up demonstration.

The Associated Press reported some of the demonstrators wore protection on their faces and adhered to social distancing. Others did not, likely trying to make the point they're not going to be told what to do.

Those protesters acted irresponsibly, endangering not only themselves but the children who were in the crowd with them. Also, anyone exposed to the virus at the event could potentially spread it to others later.

As we write this, nearly 6,000 cases have been identified in Missouri. If we hadn't taken taken the steps to curb the virus, that number would be much higher.

Let's focus on reopening Missouri gradually, under the advice of health experts, so we can avoid a second wave of sickness and closures.

News Tribune

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