Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, said Tuesday that Alabama should start opening some businesses next week. When to reopen the economy and how to do it is becoming an increasing focus of the debate on how best to deal with the coronavirus global pandemic.
“I think we can start opening some next week,” Palmer told ABC 33/40 in Birmingham.
“We need to start letting people go back to work,” Palmer stated. “We are going to lose businesses forever if we don’t.”
Palmer said that everyone will still need to practice social distancing and that employees should have their temperatures taken each day and wear masks.
Palmer said that he has been talking with doctors and testing is the key.
“The key to getting us back to work is first of all the testing,” Palmer said. “We have got to have test kits available so that we can test everybody that we need to.”
Palmer said that the new test by Abbot labs is promising as well as the antibody test that you could do at home. Palmer was also optimistic about new treatments that are being made available for people with COVID-19; but cautioned that it will take a vaccine in about a year to fully get back to normal.
Palmer said that the next aid package will include money for testing as well as to develop a vaccine.
Palmer said that some businesses should be test opening in order to evaluate and determine the best practices to keep the employees and the customers as safe as possible.
“I have been talking with business owners about putting together the best practices for their industries,” Palmer said. “I think we will have to do this from the bottom up.”
Palmer said that he has talked with executives from the automobile industry and it will be even more difficult there due to the supply chains.
“We can’t make automobiles if other states don’t open up because we depend on parts coming in to build these vehicles,” Palmer explained.
Palmer said that Congress is gong to provide aid for small business.
“The next stimulus bill that is going to happen is entirely for small business $310 billion of it,” Palmer explained.
Palmer was very critical of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California).
“You would think at this time, this is a historically devastating period in the history of our country, that we would all be able to work together,” Palmer said. “Speaker Pelosi has utterly failed as a leader. She has not brought us together.”
Palmer said that while first responders and healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line, “Speaker Pelosi has chosen to stay in San Francisco. She is not allowing us to do the committee work that is needed.”
When asked about Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s (R) handling of the coronavirus situation Palmer said, “I think she has followed the same script that a lot of other governors have followed.”
Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.
Gov. Ivey has asked for reports from members of Alabama’s congressional delegation on their views on reopening the economy. 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in just the last three weeks largely due to the forced economic shutdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.