You all have that Facebook friend, right? The one who responded to virus news with posts like “We should shut down the country now!” and so on.
Probably, you realized that there wasn’t any point in responding and let it go. But you thought something like this.
Okay, let’s shut down the country.
But wait, we need police and firefighters and EMS to respond to life threatening emergencies. And we need hospitals for the sick people.
And then we need the roads to stay clear and repaired, and gas and tires and auto repair to be available so that those police and firefighters and EMS and hospital workers can call get to their jobs. So, we need to keep all the things associated with that open as well.
And we need trash and filth picked up, and the sewers and toilets to work. So, add waste workers and cleaners in to the things we can’t shut down.
We need repair people too, so people’s houses aren’t washed away by broken pipes, or they don’t freeze or roast to death when their HVAC breaks.
And we will need the transportation network that brings hospitals and firehouses and repair shops and everything else the supplies they need. And also all the package delivery systems to bring everyone their supplies.
And we can’t have people dying because they can’t see their doctor or dentist or can’t pick up their medications, so we need all the clinics and pharmacies to stay open as well.
What else? Oh yeah, people have to eat. So, restaurants, fast food places (not everyone can or is able to cook), convenience stores and grocery stores can stay open.
Guess it’s okay if people buy other stuff while they are getting food, then.
People aren’t going to sit still for people telling them they can’t worship the way they please or take care of their pets, so let’s just turn a blind eye to all that activity and hope people don’t stick it in our faces so much we have to say something.
TLDR? You can’t “shut down” a country.
Seems like it ended up the only people really “shut down” were the less powerful members of society; women, minorities and young people. Mostly what closed were things like concerts, bars, sports, nail salons, gyms, small local businesses and hair salons. Seems like the things that were labelled “non-essential” often represented the value judgments of old, white men. “You don’t need that silly women/minority stuff like nail care, haircuts, cloth shopping and trinkets, do you?”
Surely, it is also just coincidence that all the stores allowed to stay open were owned by massive, politically powerful companies.