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“It’s becoming a stampede. It started two weeks ago. It’s picking up speed,” he said. “Back to work. Get out of the house. We are breaking out all over. Of course, we are! If you own a small business and you're facing the loss of your life's work, what are you going to do? Stay locked down and go bankrupt?”
Varney said business owners are pressuring their state governors to loosen restrictions and, in some cases, owners are reopening despite regulation.
On Monday, California barbershop owner Juan Desmarais told Varney that he decided to defy California law by reopening his business, despite threats from local authorities.
“It’s a revolt,” Varney said. “Please note: the New York Police Department is fed up with trying to enforce vague social distancing rules. They don't want to do it!”
Varney said “human misery” in being shut inside all day is another driving factor of Americans pushing to get out of the house. According to Varney, suicide prevention hotlines and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration have all seen a spike in outreach.
“Cooped up for weeks on end, perhaps in an abusive relationship, and you can't get out,” he said. “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reports a 1,000 percent surge in emotional distress calls. We're buying a lot of alcohol: you think that might be a challenge for people who had a drinking problem before they were locked down? We need to get out!”
And even as some states do reopen, Varney said the coronavirus is not going to disappear, as states that have reopened have seen a slight rise in cases.
“The number of fatalities is expected to keep rising well into the summer. It’s not over,” he said. “Risk of infection, especially for vulnerable groups, is still there. With the relaxation trend in full swing, collectively, we appear to accept that risk.”
As Memorial Day Weekend approaches in two weeks’ time, Varney said it’ll be tough to keep people inside who want to enjoy the summer weather.
“And what about all those seasonal businesses which have a three-month window of opportunity for the year? If they don't open, they're done!” he said. “Like it or not, the pace of the great reopening is speeding up. By Memorial Day, it really will be a stampede.”