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STAY AT HOME ORDER – GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO DO MORE TO ENCOURAGE ITS CITIZENS

The government needs to do more to encourage its citizens to stay at home order or stay safer at home to comply with social distancing by ordering retailers to deliver household essentials online for Covid-19.

As our government leaders struggle to balance the reopening of the economy and the need to keep its citizens safe, they’ve missed the boat on a number of social distancing rules and regulations.

Our Government and medical advisors in an effort to keep us safe have pronounced the premise that staying at home, unless absolutely necessary, is critical to keeping us safe during these trying times of the pandemic.  The concept is simple.  Until we get a vaccine or a therapeutic drug, staying away from people is your best opportunity to stay safe.

As simple as it is and as much sense as that makes our government leaders and the medical personnel helping with policy have missed the mark on what it takes for people to stay home.  They want us to not be in confined spaces, not be around other people, not to have social interactions, obviously to stay at home as much as possible.

But are they really encouraging and helping us to do that?

I believe that most people want to follow government directives, keep themselves and their families safe and be good citizens by keeping others safe by practicing all the rules and regulations that our leaders both political and medical tell us to abide by.

So why do I believe our government leaders aren’t doing all they can to help us abide by the new normal, the new societal ethics and helping us all to protect ourselves, our family and others?

Prior to the pandemic you could buy anything you wanted online with the push of a button and depending on your membership status huge shopping websites like Amazon or Costco you could get items delivered to the comfort and safety of your home for free with the push of a button.

Most people in order to live in these very trying times, need, want, desire to have certain basics in the comforts of their homes.  Today, toilet paper, paper towel, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant sprays, cleaning supplies and vitamins have become the” sweet-tooth” for all Americans that are trying to abide to the new normal, the new rules and law.

If you’ve done a search recently for these essentials either at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Costco, you can see that the online delivery availability is no longer available.  But depending on the website you go to you will see that these items are available in some cases for in-store pickup only.

We’ll get to Amazon in a moment, which by the way, is one of my favorite company’s, but some of their policies are not only frustrating but mind-boggling.

So the question becomes, why prior to the pandemic could you get toilet paper, paper towel, hand sanitizer, disinfectants delivered to your home?  And now when it’s more important than ever to stay home, these retailers force you to go into the store, violate the stay at home order, or the safer at home order and put you in a situation where you’re forced to be around strangers. Additionally your forced to touch things that can get you sick, force you to put you and your family at risk not knowing when you leave the store to buy things that you must have whether you are bringing back to the confines and safety of your home whatever disease or virus may be out there. It’s really counterproductive as to what we are trying to accomplish.

While I realize supply chains have been disrupted, selfish people are hoarding the essentials that everyone wants, these items can frequently be sold out, why isn’t our Government demanding that stores like Walmart, Target and Costco, who will gladly deliver patio furniture to you online, are no longer willing to deliver the essentials that we all need.  The Government needs to encourage and order our retail stores to discourage people from coming into the store to buy these essential goods.  In other words, the philosophy of how we are currently living and shopping needs to change. Government leaders need to order our retailers to again sell, toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes that are currently impossible to purchase online to allow those on line purchases. The idea that you can purchased these items in store, force people to line up at 6 am in the morning, rush the store opening and hope to “score” that coveted bottle of Purell, actually encourages people to violate all of our new social distancing rules and norms.

It’s a pretty simple concept.  Instead of reading on the various websites, currently unavailable for delivery” “instore purchase only”, it should say the opposite.  Don’t come to our stores, only available for online purchase, in that way the number of people, the number of social contacts and the spread of this disease can truly be cut down. We need to be encouraging people to get the things that they need on line only to stay home and stay safe.

While I am not saying that stores like Walmart, Target and Costco want people to get sick, but they really have not thought this through.  These online retailers can limit these essential items to be delivered to one address, once a month or once a week or however they determine to stop people from hoarding.

The current culture that our governors and medical experts have proliferated isn’t good for social distancing as more shoppers are inclined to visit stores to stock up on these essentials instead of staying home. The end result isn’t good and it’s actually the opposite of what our leaders want us to do.

It is incredibly frustrating for people who want to do the right thing, but are being forced not to because of words like “available for instore pickup only”.  Now let’s talk about the largest online retailer on the planet.  Amazon.

So Amazon has the ability and has the stock of your favorite brand of Charmin, Bounty, Purell, Lysol and Clorox products.  However, they are only available if you are a government or hospital entity.  Now I totally agree that Hospitals, Health Care providers and government entities need to have these items. But the term, “Reserved for front line workers” is misplaced. The front line should be considered the home. If we can protect people at home, won’t that actually help our hospital personnel? Of course as a society we need to make sure that when our “Sick” go to the hospitals that the hospitals have the items that they need to treat and get people healthy.  However, limiting those items to only government entities and hospital facilities defeats the purpose of trying to keep people away from the hospital to begin with.  To put it another way, if you don’t allow people to get products like Lysol disinfect spray or Purell hand sanitizers delivered to their home, aren’t you making it more likely that people will end up sick and go the hospital ? This of course no one wants and everyone is trying to prevent.  The people who are in charge of our supply chains for these vital products need to get them delivered to the comfort and safety of people’s homes. There needs to be a system that limits the amount of products that people can get, that prohibits hoarding, but also discourages people from driving in their cars for hours on end to find the one store that may have that cherished bottle of Purell or Lysol spray.

Seeing notes and warnings on these various websites “unavailable for home delivery” is unconscionable.  If these items are in stock at our favorite retailers, Walmart, Target, Costco, the culture needs to change from people getting into their cars, leaving their homes and going on a search for the hidden treasures that have now become life’s essential products.

It’s frustrating to me, as a practicing criminal defense lawyer for over 35 years, to see the new normal that encourages people to break the law, to not abide by government directives, force people to go into harm’s way. Our government leaders instead of saying you can leave your homes for either recreational purposes or to go buy essential home goods, should be saying is “Stay at home, we’ve ordered all our favorite retailers Target, Walmart, Costco, Amazon to not allow you to go to the store, but we will deliver these items that you need directly to your home”..

I encourage the Governors, the public health coordinators in each State to read this blog and consider the fact that they haven’t done enough to encourage true Stay at Home, Stay Safer at home and social distance directives during these very, very trying times.

Stay Healthy.  Stay Safe. Shop online.  Encourage your favorite retailer to deliver the household essentials like disinfectants cleaners, paper goods, to the comfort and safety of our homes.

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