In an interview Tuesday, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz declared that “it is time for Texans to get back to work” and warned that if we let the widespread shutdowns drag on, we will see not only more “economic devastation” but major public health consequences.
Speaking with Lubbock’s KCBD NewsChannel 11 on Tuesday, Cruz said that while we need to continue to protect those who are “very vulnerable, like the elderly and those with serious underlying conditions, we must urgently address the “economic devastation” caused by the mass shutdowns, and the only way to truly do so is to get people back to work.
“We’ve got to deal with the economic devastation of all of the people who are hurting, and I’ll tell you it is it is time for Texans to go back to work,” Cruz told NewsChannel 11′s Kase Wilbanks (partial transcript via KCBD). “I’m very glad that both the President and the governor are laying out a specific time frame, a specific plan to get Texans back to work.”
“Listen, obviously, those who are very vulnerable, those who are elderly, those who have serious health conditions, you should stay home if they if that describes you, you should stay home because this disease has been particularly devastating for the elderly and those with serious health conditions,” said Cruz. “But for people who are young and healthy and able to work, we need to get people back to work sooner rather than later. Because the consequences of this economic shutdown are serious and dire millions of small businesses, restaurants and bars and bowling alleys and movie theaters and oilfield services companies all facing potentially going out of business.”
“Congress passed emergency legislation that gives short term loans to these small businesses to try to keep them alive to make it through,” he added. “But we need to get people back to work. That’s how you really ensure the small businesses can survive. And we need to get people where they can provide for their family and I’m working hard to do that.”
Asked about the growing movement across the country for officials to “reopen” the economy, including the growing “Let Lubbock Open” movement, Cruz said we can take “reasonable steps, guided by the Science in the Public Health,” to begin that process.
“So number one, it needs to be dependent upon the particular facts and circumstances in the particular region,” said the senator. “New York City right now where they’re facing massive numbers, it would not make sense for everyone in New York City to go back to work tomorrow. That that is not driven by the facts or circumstances. But each region in this, this is why we have elected leaders at the local level.”
“We have strong leadership at the state level here in Texas, we can look at the facts and circumstances and say, Okay, we’re going to protect vulnerable populations, if there’s jobs where there’s some risks,” he continued. “It may be that when people go back to work that they wear a mask and gloves for some period of time to limit the spread of disease. We’ve seen that all the time. If you’ve ordered food, if you’ve ordered takeout, I know Heidi and I and the girls, we’ve ordered food delivered to our house quite a bit because we’re holed up at home. You know, most of the drivers who show up dropping off food or wearing masks and gloves, I mean, we can take steps like that, that that will help minimize the risk of transmission but but keeping the economy shut down for weeks.”
Cruz then warned about the devastation — not just economically but in terms of public health — that will occur if we let these mass shutdowns drag on for months.
“If we allow that to turn into months, we’re going to see human lives lost, we’re going to see real devastation, from poverty from dreams shattered from family businesses put out of business from people whose savings are lost,” he said. “And that’s going to lead to mental health issues that’s going to lead to depression, it’s going to lead to substance abuse, it’s going to lead to increased suicide. All of those are very real public health threats as well. And so our objective needs to be to protect the most lives possible. That means targeting on the on the on those sick and those particularly vulnerable to be sick. But it also means helping people be in a position where they can provide for their family and have the security the economic security that comes from that.”