This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 3, 2020:
There are currently 38 states operating under “stay-at-home” rules, “shelter-in-place” orders, or full “lockdown” mandates that forbid citizens from leaving their homes without explicit permission from authorities. Of the remaining 12, seven — Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama and South Carolina — have at least one city or municipality under one of these restrictions. That leaves five — Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Arkansas — that don’t have any such statewide mandates.
USA Today technology writer Marco della Cava was tasked to learn how those five “free” states are managing without coronavirus mandates. He asked, “So, what’s life like.… Are some Americans [in those states] still chatting at the local barbershop, meeting for post-work happy hours and gathering for backyard barbecues?”
He answered: “Not so much. The reality is a complicated and even conflicted mix of respect for a deadly pathogen, concern over its economic implications, and a desire to maintain a sense of American independence in the face of collective tragedy.”
Responses reflected a general sense of personal responsibility that represents those states’ cultures. For instance, Brian Joens, owner of Joensy’s Restaurant in Iowa City, Iowa, said he is doing the best he can under the circumstances: