Rob Martinelli: Let’s balance protecting public health with jump-starting our economy
From Delaware Business Times
I’ve watched Governor Carney’s press conferences about Delaware’s response to the coronavirus COVID-19. The Governor and public health officials are doing a professional job of talking about the trends and letting us know where Delaware stands. They fear that the next two weeks will be frightening in terms of positive cases and are working to preserve the necessary capacity at hospitals for the sickest patients.
The Governor admits that the forecasts in this area may be conservative. He credits working with hospitals and says, “they’ve had great ideas…This has been a great partnership.”
All Delawareans are thankful for the heroic efforts of our health care workers and first responders. We are also thankful for the type of partnership and cooperation with the health community that the Governor mentions that exists to fight this pandemic.
This column was originally going to focus on the need for a similar level of cooperation and partnership to finding finding a way to get Delaware working again as soon as possible. And as you probably read on our website, we learned just before going to press that that’s beginning to happen.
There are some who agree with New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, who has made the argument that the best way to restart our economy is to test every Delawarean who hasn’t been tested. Dr. Fauci was on the Today show April 9th and said that the antibody test would be available in large numbers within weeks.
Meyer knows that weeks of sheltering in place will do great harm to our economy. We are a small state that prides itself on getting things accomplished. If this is a viable option that can be done cost-effectively and quickly, it would be great if we could become the First State of testing.
But I’m equally heartened by the news that Doug Gramiak and Tom McGonigle – two people with a distinguished record of serving our state – have been informally asked by Governor Carney to look into ways that we might jump start our economy.
Whether it’s serendipity or part of their effort, I am hearing that business leaders across the state are building lists that will support the efforts of Gramiak and McGonigle.
“If there was ever a time for the business community to work together, this is it,” Delaware Business Roundtable Executive Director Bob Perkins told me on April 9. “Now is the time, for example, to put the Ready in Six initiative on steroids” to help encourage business retention and attraction.
I believe there are a number of ideas beyond streamlining the permitting process statewide that we should consider, including expanding broadband internet services statewide – particularly in light of the number of people who might continue to work from home after the crisis – and finding ways to help restaurants restore customer confidence once they can reopen.