Letter to the editor: It is time to let our residents get back to work
Summit County has begun a rollback of its oppressive, over-reaching and in some cases unlawful COVID-19 restrictions. Good. The rollback must continue.
The socioeconomic harm from the Summit County restrictions will continue until the rollback is complete. According to the Summit Daily, county governments project more than $30 million in lost tax revenue this year. At a combined average sales and occupancy tax rate of 10%, that implies county business and property owners will be losing over $300 million in revenue. That lost revenue can never be recovered, and future revenue will be lost at that rate as long as the county forbids short-term rentals and makes second-home owners and visitors feel unwelcome. We need to encourage and welcome visitors and make sure there is plenty of lodging, food, recreation and entertainment available to keep them coming.
The restrictions were imposed in March out of fear that a rapid spread of COVID-19 would overwhelm our health facilities. Since then, we have averaged 2-3 cases per day and had only two deaths. (COVID-19 was not listed as the primary cause of death for one.) There has been minimal harm from COVID-19 in Summit County. It has not approached epidemic proportions or threatened to overwhelm our medical facilities. Reasonable physical distancing and personal protection rules are in place. It is unlikely continued restrictions will reduce COVID-19 levels. Statewide, the average number of cases per day has declined to less than 400. Average deaths per day have declined from a peak of 35 to about 5 per day now. COVID-19 will be in our county and state for a while, but not in epidemic proportions and without widespread deaths.
It is time to let our residents to get back to work and back to business in our essential industry: tourism.
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