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LETTER: Unjust virus restrictions will put me out of business

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The ongoing shutdown of businesses has nothing to do with stopping the spread of COVID-19, but instead with the government choosing winners and losers. Gov. Roy Cooper backed up his claim that Phase 2 will not go into full effect with graphs showing an increase of COVID-19 cases. What he didn’t show you was this is due to more testing.

If this was truly about stopping the spread of COVID-19, masks would have been mandatory from the beginning. If this was truly about stopping the spread of COVID-19, then hardware stores would only have been allowed to sell essentials rather than allowing thousands in to buy items for household chores while touching the same screen at the same self-checkout terminal.

On March 23, the government forced me to shut down my business, Anytime Fitness of Wake Forest. I was told I could reopen April 30. This was to flatten the curve, to give hospitals time to get the necessary medical supplies. Fair enough, this is a direct action with a goal and end in sight. Rather than force my employees on unemployment I decided to pay my staff since I had a reserve of cash.

Unlike restaurants and other businesses doing curbside delivery I could not bring in any revenue. But the bills were still due. I was told April 30 I would be allowed to open for Phase 2. The curve, while flattened, was no longer the goal. The goal now was nebulous and if I dared to want to reopen it was because I valued money over people. I wanted their grandmothers to die. Phase 2 came and again I was told I cannot reopen. The bills are still due.

My business is a 7,000-square-foot fitness center that could easily hold 40 people maintaining 6 feet of separation. We have sanitizing wipes and spray bottles that will kill COVID-19. I have six employees who rely on this business for their primary source of income.

Without further assistance from this same government that forced me to shut down I will not make it to Phase 3. I served six years in the Marine Corps including a deployment to Iraq and worked hard for years to save up money to start a business only to now see that same government I fought for tell me who is and is not allowed to survive.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

Brenden Johnson
WAKE FOREST

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