The World and Everything in It — April 23, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

Businesses considered non-essential have been closed for nearly a month. And local officials have come down hard on any that tried to stay open.

NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll tell you about the frustration that’s causing among small-business owners.

Also today: the knock-on economic effects are hitting newspapers, even though media are regarded as essential businesses.

Plus, families are looking for new stay-at-home activities, and that’s producing a run on jigsaw puzzles.

BASHAM: It’s Thursday, April 23rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BASHAM: Up next, Kent Covington has today’s news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: White House warns states against reopening too early » At the White House on Wednesday, President Trump and top officials warned states against moving to reopen their economies too soon. 

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned…

FAUCI: I plead with the American public, with the governors, with the mayors, with the people with responsibility, although I know one has that need to leapfrog over things, don’t do that.

And President Trump called out Georgia Governor Brian Kemp by name. The Republican governor did leapfrog over federal guidelines this week. Those guidelines call for a consistent 2-week downward trend in new coronavirus cases before moving to Phase One of restarting a state’s economy. Georgia’s downward trend began less than a week ago. 

Still, Kemp announced plans to reopen most businesses, including gyms, nail salons, and dine-in restaurants, under certain conditions, over the next four days.  

TRUMP: Would I do that? No. I keep them a little longer. I want to protect people’s lives, but I’m going to let him make his decision. But I told him, I totally disagree. 

Also on Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield sought to clarify earlier remarks about the impact of the coronavirus in the fall. 

Some headlines suggested Redfield warned a fall outbreak could be even worse than the current one. Redfield said that was not his intended message. He said his concern is that even a lesser outbreak of the coronavirus coupled with the seasonal flu could make for a very “difficult” fall season. Redfield said he’s urging all Americans to get the flu vaccine this year. 

Pompeo calls out China over continued coverup » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday made perhaps his most forceful statement to date against China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Pompeo said the Chinese government has withheld information about the virus at every stage of the outbreak leading to the global pandemic. 

POMPEO: It covered up how dangerous the disease is. It didn’t report sustained human-to-human transmission for a month until it was inside of every province in China. It censored those who tried to warn the world in order to halt the testing of new samples and it destroyed existing samples. 

And he added Chinese Communist Party “still has not shared the virus sample from inside of China.”

Tyson temporarily closes vital pork processing plant amid outbreak » Tyson Foods suspended operations Wednesday at an Iowa plant that is critical to the nation’s pork supply. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The company has temporarily closed its largest pork plant, which had become a hotspot for COVID-19. 

More than 180 infections have been linked to the Waterloo, Iowa plant. Officials expect that number to dramatically rise and will begin testing the plant’s nearly 3,000 workers tomorrow. 

The facility was already running at reduced capacity. In addition to those who tested positive for the coronavirus, hundreds of workers stayed home out of fear.

The closure blocks a vital market for hog farmers and further disrupts U.S. meat supply. Tyson had kept the facility open in recent days over the objections of alarmed local officials.

The plant can process almost 20,000 hogs per day and accounts for about 4 percent of the country’s pork.

Many other meat processing plants have temporarily closed due to virus outbreaks. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

First COVID-19 deaths came earlier than thought » California officials announced Wednesday that two people in the northern part of the state died of COVID-19—weeks before what officials thought was the nation’s first death in Kirkland, Washington.

Sara Cody is Santa Clara County’s health officer.

CODY: What these deaths tell us is that we had community transmission, probably to a significant degree far earlier than we had known.

The first patient, a 57-year-old woman, died February 6th. The second, a 69-year-old man, died February 17th. Neither had traveled outside the country.

The new timeline suggests the virus was circulating in California in late January, if not earlier. The first confirmed U.S. infection was reported in Seattle on January 21st.

Kentucky church reaches deal to continue drive-in services » A Kentucky church previously blocked from holding drive-in services has reached a deal with local officials to continue meeting. WORLD’s Paul Butler has that story. 

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: On Fire Christian Church had previously won a temporary restraining order against the city of Louisville. That stopped Mayor Greg Fischer from enforcing his demand that churches stop holding meetings in their parking lots.

Under the new deal, the church can hold services as long as it follows social distancing guidelines. The church’s staff already required members to stay in their cars with the windows rolled down no more than half way and park 6 feet apart. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.  

Trump issues warning after Iran launches satellite » Iran’s Revolutionary Guard took a step toward advancing the country’s long-range missile program Tuesday with the launch of a military satellite, a first for the elite guard.

General John Hyten is vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During a press briefing at the Pentagon he declined to say whether the launch successfully put a satellite in orbit.

HYTEN: But it went a very long way, which means it has the ability once again to threaten their neighbors, our allies. And we want to make sure that they can never threaten the United States.

After Iran announced the launch, President Trump issued a warning on Twitter that the Navy would shoot at any Iranian vessels that come too close to U.S. ships.

Last week, 11 gunboats operated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard made what the U.S. Navy called “dangerous and harassing approaches” to several American vessels in the Persian Gulf. 

Such incidents happened frequently several years ago but had become more rare.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: small businesses feeling coronavirus pain.

Plus, Cal Thomas on common-sense plans to reopen the economy.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Thursday the 23rd of April, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up, a special episode dedicated to answering your questions about COVID-19.

BASHAM: Right. You asked, and so we’re answering! Last week we put out a call for questions for WORLD’s medical correspondent, Dr. Charles Horton. He’s been combing through all of those and later today you’ll be able to listen to his answers.

So you’ll find a special episode devoted totally to medical questions and answers, and we’ll release it in our feed of The World and Everything in It this afternoon.

EICHER: Yes, a special afternoon release. Be sure to check your feed for that later on today. Alright well, coming next: essential businesses.

More than 90 percent of people in this country have been under stay-at-home orders for the last month, if not longer. That has upended seasonal sales expectations for many businesses—at least those not considered quote-unquote essential. But those restrictions are about to start easing.

BASHAM: Texas aims to be among the first states to allow businesses to reopen. It will roll out its recovery in phases, starting with retail outlets. They can reopen tomorrow as long as they can deliver orders to customers waiting at the curb. 

But is it too little, too late—particularly for small businesses? Here’s WORLD reporter Katie Gaultney.

KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: For 45 years, Logos has sold Christian books out of its storefront in a cute, candy-colored shopping center in the heart of Dallas. Customers filter in from the sidewalk to browse, while regulars chat up longtime owners Rick and Susan Lewis.

LEWIS: For us, Easter is almost as big as Christmas. It’s a huge season and a very important season in our faith. And usually we’re packed, and we do a lot of business. So it was very, very different this year.

That’s Susan. She’s still taking orders by phone, and some customers have intentionally overpaid to help them out. Still, she estimates the bookshop is making just 10 to 25 percent of its usual spring sales. The decrease in traffic started with an emergency order from Dallas County on March 23. It was reinforced statewide on April 2.

Lewis wondered if Logos could have kept its doors open, disinfecting regularly and only allowing a few customers in at a time. And what makes a business “essential,” anyway? Or, as Susan put it… 

LEWIS: I guess it makes another question, essential to who? Our customers say that we are essential to them, to their wellbeing, to their spiritual journeys, to their state of mind, to their happiness and, and many other things.

Scott Pearson is a business professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in south Florida. He said small businesses will be particularly affected by the upheaval, since many don’t have the easy access to capital that larger businesses have.

PEARSON: Such a large portion of our employment in this country is from small businesses. So if those small businesses go under, then that’s a lot of employment that goes under as well. 

The Lewises think they’ll rebound once stay-at-home orders are lifted. But others may not. Julie Norine and her husband own Dallas-based photography business Matt & Julie Weddings. They’ve had to cancel or postpone all their photography sessions through May 20th at the earliest. They’re unlikely to make up for lost income later in the year, since every shoot rescheduled means that future date is unavailable to other would-be customers.

NORINE: I would say 50 percent of the yearly income would be a conservative number. 

Norine is frustrated because, like Logos, in any other year this would be a busy season for her business, with weddings, senior portraits, and outdoor family photo sessions. Plus, photography can be done from a safe 6-plus feet away. Pearson said lawmakers should consider broadening their standards for which businesses should close.

PEARSON: Essential and nonessential is not the only criteria. There’s safe and unsafe. And if we believe that a 6 foot distance is sufficient, then certainly there are jobs that one could do without violating that even if they happen to fall into somebody else’s perception of what’s nonessential.

Expanding the criteria for what kinds of operations can continue would be a lifeline for a lot of small businesses. Lauren Bell runs a residential remodeling company in North Texas. To comply with local regulations, she’s said “no” to some opportunities and delayed others. She’s counting on Small Business Administration loans, like the Payroll Protection Program, to get her business through these leaner months. And she’s praying for provision.

BELL: Just honestly praying that the Lord would provide in whatever way He chooses, trusting that regardless if we can work or not that He will provide…

From county to county, state to state, rules may be applied differently, adding to frustration among small business owners. Dallas County required high-touch businesses like salons to close early on. But until Texas expanded that order to cover the entire state, Dallas residents could drive to neighboring counties for haircuts.

Craft stores, too, were initially forced to shutter in Dallas, although some remained open. Customers had been shopping for homeschool materials and crafts to keep suddenly homebound children occupied, plus supplies to make face masks.

But then County Judge Clay Jenkins sent police to serve a cease-and-desist order to a Hobby Lobby store in North Dallas. At a news conference, Jenkins said he was trying to protect the public.

JENKINS: It’s a slap in the face to the businesses that are following this order that a few outliers are putting the community in danger.

Public outcry prompted Jenkins to walk back the craft store order last week.

While so many businesses had to close, big box hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s remained open with no restrictions. The thinking is, homeowners need quick recourse if their refrigerator dies or a pipe bursts.

But one Lowe’s employee in Fort Worth told me most customers aren’t shopping for those kinds of essentials. For the first couple weeks of the economic shutdown, district manager Matt Inman saw customers panic-buying things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, gloves, and masks.

Inman: Then after week three, people were getting stir-crazy, and it was anything that could keep them sane at home. So it was like, “You know what, my wife’s been telling me to fix the faucet for the last three years. I’m going to fix the faucet. I’ve been wanting to paint my house and I’ve never had time to paint my house.” That’s actually my biggest seller right now, paint.

Weighing individuals’ rights against public health is a balance. Some Americans are wondering if we’ve sacrificed our economy over health concerns. But Pearson said it’s not that simple.

PEARSON: I hear people saying, “People over profits,” so we can’t really pay attention to the economy until we solve the medical crisis, that’s a false comparison. Just last week the United Nations came out and suggested that as a result of the economic downturn, there may be hundreds of thousands of children that lose their lives. And we don’t think about that as an economic impact. But it’s real.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Katie Gaultney in Dallas, Texas.

NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: another coronavirus side-effect.

MEGAN BASHAM: People depend on news outlets for information about what’s going on around the globe and in their own backyards. But, like many of the businesses you just heard about, small town newspapers are struggling to make ends meet. WORLD reporter Anna Johansen has the story.

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: On February 3rd, Hannah Saunders started her first post-college job … covering the cops and courts beat for a local news group called Sound Publishing in Washington state. A few weeks later, Kirkland, Washington, became the first U-S hotspot for COVID-19. That’s right in Hannah Saunders’ backyard.

SAUNDERS: We were pumping out articles just on top of covering the coronavirus for seven different cities.

She says it was a lot, but she and her fellow reporters felt up to the challenge.

SAUNDERS: Our editor the Friday before had given us a little pep talk. He’s like, I want you guys to go out there and own it. I remember him saying, this could be your Pulitzer.

Just a few days later, all that changed.

SAUNDERS: We had a call at like 11 o’clock, I want to say. And it was just like, sorry. All of the reporters are furloughed. You’re done at 5:00 p.m., you won’t be working tomorrow. 

Now, just two editors are keeping the newsroom running. Maddi Miller says she can only imagine how tough that must be.

MILLER: It’s down to the two of them, but their hours have also been cut from 40 hours a week to 24 hours a week. 

Miller is a WORLD Journalism Institute graduate. She worked at Sound Publishing for two years, then landed a new position at a different news group. In early February, she put in her two weeks’ notice at Sound Publishing. But on her last day there, she got a call from her new company.

MILLER: They called me actually in tears saying, you know, that they couldn’t believe that they had to do this and that the over 20 years that they’d been in business, they had never had to lay anyone off.

The company couldn’t afford to hire her and they had to lay off four other reporters, too. Miller says there’s one main reason for that.

MILLER: Their main source of revenue is through advertising. Now with this pandemic, um, no one’s, no one’s taking out ads for anything because everything is closed. Their main source of income is just gone, it’s just absolutely gone.

The decline in print advertising has made things tough for newspapers for years—even without a pandemic. Now, the coronavirus is exacerbating that problem. Newsrooms across the United States are working to adapt to the new reality.

GRAY: We’re a really small, locally owned a paper that’s business focused here in El Paso. Um, so our team is quite small. 

Robby Gray is the editor of El Paso Inc., a local weekly newspaper in South Texas. He says the pandemic has impacted his team members in a variety of ways. They’re all working remotely and doing a lot more cold calls. They’ve also had to pick up the pace: The team is set up for weekly publication.

GRAY: But now we’re covering a story that’s really breaking at a fast pace that’s very big. And the weekly schedule doesn’t really work. I mean, what we talk about in our Monday news meeting is probably not what’s happening by the end of the week. 

They’ve had to adapt to a faster paced schedule: Daily web updates, social media posts. Even the photographer has had to get creative.

GRAY: Even just looking at the streets here, looking at companies, looking at events, I mean, so much is just not happening. So even having something to take a photo of is a challenge.

But the company hasn’t had to cut any staff. No furloughs or layoffs. Gray attributes that to being a niche publication with a close relationship to the community. So even as companies and advertisers look to more and more budget cuts, they see Gray and his team as a valuable asset. 

GRAY: I think, while local news can sometimes come across as maybe a little cheesy sometimes or very local at times like this, I think people really realize how valuable it can be. When you hear about millions being impacted worldwide, it’s hard to grasp. When you hear that your neighbor died from COVID-19, that hits close to home.

Maddi Miller says a lot of those local stories are going unreported because of all the layoffs and furloughs. 

And, of course, all those reporters are left without work. Miller says she’s done some freelance reporting.

MILLER: It doesn’t pay a whole lot, but it’s enough to keep me a little bit afloat and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Hannah Saunders has thought about freelancing, but she doesn’t feel like she has enough connections.

SAUNDERS: I am only 22 years old. I have just started working. So I just, I had no idea what to do in terms of freelance.

Her furlough is supposed to end April 27th. But that depends on whether or not businesses start opening back up. So for now, she’s just waiting to see if things go back to normal.

Robby Gray says this time has been hard, but it’s also forcing his team to think outside the box. And some of those new practices might stick around even after the pandemic.

GRAY: I think we will come away with a greater confidence of working in different ways that we would never have been forced to do before. But we are ready to get back to the newsroom.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

NICK EICHER: Three years ago, a New York couple was enjoying a meal by the water at a South Florida restaurant called Coconuts, when the man briefly took off his wedding ring and then dropped it. 

But the ring didn’t hit the floor. It just kept going. It slipped right through the wooden floorboards.  

What a horrible feeling, right? He thought the ring was lost forever. 

Then came the coronavirus and the closure of Coconuts to everything but carry out.

Manager Ryan Krivoy decided, you know, it’s a really good time to replace that wooden dining patio.

When they pulled up the boards of the deck, they found all kinds of treasures below—such as, yes, the wedding ring.

You’ll hear a muffled Ryan Krivoy—wearing his coronavirus mask—talking to television station WSVN.

KRIVOY: Once we washed it off in a little soap and water, we saw the inscription on the inside.

Yes, “Mike & Lisa” and the wedding date, 8-21-15. The restaurant posted a picture of the ring on Facebook. And after 5,000 shares, a connection.

KRIVOY: I got a phone call early this morning, and the lady basically said, she goes this might sound crazy but I’m Lisa.

This story just gets better: also beneath the deck, some hundred-dollar bills and a rare gold coin, which may be worth as much as $2,000. So the manager says it’s going into the tip jar to split among the staff.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, April 23rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a shortage we might fairly call puzzling

Well, not puzzling in the sense we can’t figure it out. But rather in the sense that it’s about jigsaw puzzles in short supply. WORLD reporter Sarah Schweinsberg now on one industry that’s enjoying more demand for its product than it can fill.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Throughout the coronavirus lockdowns and closures, I’ve been blessed to keep working.

But in the evenings, I’ve had some extra time on my hands. So I’ve turned to setting jigsaw puzzles. 

SCHWEINSBERG: I’m looking at two, 1,000 piece puzzles that I’ve already completed all by myself. One is of Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta Canada. And the other is a lovely sketch of Paris. It’s very colorful and has the Eiffel Tower and the lovely cafes on the sidewalks.

I enjoyed those puzzles so much that I wanted more. But when I tried to place an order with Amazon, it said it would be June before I could get my next puzzle. Puzzles on other websites were either sold out or had delivery times of three to four weeks.

And I wasn’t wild about buying a used puzzle online because of germ concerns. After all, puzzles are pretty hands on. 

Brian Way founded and heads the Puzzle Warehouse in St. Louis. It’s the largest new puzzle distributor in the United States. 

WAY: So we carry about 10,000 different choices from literally every brand that you can buy.

Way says before quarantines began puzzle popularity was already on the rise. 

WAY: We’ve seen millennials coming in to do jigsaw puzzles because they’ve grown up with digital everything, right? So they are looking for something different.

But the last six weeks have been like nothing he’s ever seen before. Typically the Christmas season is the biggest sale season for puzzles. March and April have put the holiday season to shame. 

WAY: Normally, we might do 500 sales a day. Since the COVID thing has happened, our business has grown 10 times, so on any given day… we’re doing between 3-and 5-000 orders a day, it’s totally insane. 

Millions of people like me at home with a spouse or children or grandparents are turning to jigsaw puzzles. 

WAY: How many hours of Netflix can you really watch after you’ve been home for weeks?

COMMERCIAL: Have you ever wondered what it is about Ravensburger puzzles? In puzzles of 1,000 pieces, no two pieces are the same. 

Ravensburger is one of the oldest puzzle manufacturers in the world. Thomas Kaeppeler runs the German company’s North American office. 

KAEPPELER: Our retailers reported puzzle sales five times as high on March 16, as they were on December 16…. and the demand has literally not stopped. You bring puzzles out to market. You ship to retail and the minute they hit retail shelves they are gone. 

He says the company is having trouble keeping up with orders in the United States because puzzle demand in Europe is just as strong. 

The puzzle gold rush has also extended to puzzle accessories. Colin King owns JigThings out of the United Kingdom. He sells puzzle boards, boxes, frames and tables.  

KING: Ordinarily at this time of year, we’re selling around about $2,000 dollars a day. But at the minute we’re selling nearly 10 times that amount. So around about $20,000 a day. 

But the good times can only last as long as the puzzle supply keeps rolling in. There are four puzzle manufacturers in the United States. Two of them are still open. 

But many other puzzles are imported from Europe and some from China. Factory closures and customs hang ups means supply from those factories is interrupted. 

Puzzle Warehouse’s Brian Way says constricted supply plus following CDC guidelines in warehouses means shoppers should continue to expect delayed shipping. 

WAY: We’re very consistently now running two weeks behind, and we think by next week we will start getting caught up a little bit each day. 

Way, Kaeppeler, and King say they each feel some guilt that while so many other businesses are struggling they are experiencing unexpected success. So they are each looking to give back. 

WAY: As a bright spot, we have hired about 80 different people that would be sitting at home not working right now, and a lot of them are people that don’t qualify for unemployment. Maybe they were a restaurant worker or in a position where they don’t have another income source. 

KAEPPELER: That’s the two hearts beating in my chest and there on one hand, you’re feeling guilty and on the other hand, you’re feeling proud that you’re actually able with all the safety precautions in place, to provide a product that people seem to really want and need right now. 

So, while I wait for my new puzzle to come in the mail, maybe I’ll break up my Paris or Moraine Lake puzzle and start over.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

NICK EICHER: Coming up next, an excerpt from tomorrow’s Listening In. This week, Warren Smith talks with pianist and composer Stanton Lanier. 

Stylistically, his music is often labelled, “New Age.” But he prefers the term “instrumental worship music”—much of which he says is inspired directly by Scripture.

WARREN SMITH: Well I want to talk to you a little bit, um, if I could Stanton about your songwriting process.

STANTON LANIER: So it’s pretty much all just reading the Scripture in my quiet time with the Lord, or just as I go through life, and then some stuff jumps off the page. Then some of that has to be sifted to where: “is there a title in there?” Um, and then if something’s really moving me and my spirit, I’ll look at different versions of scripture. So I’ve had the NIV, or the ESV, or the NASB, or the Message Bible, or see what it says and dig deeper in the Amplified Bible or whatever else. I’ll do almost like a verse or a passage study. 

That’s the basis. And then it is oftentimes, with that open, at a keyboard or at my piano, or I have it in my head so much that I don’t have to keep opening it up, you know. It’s kind of locked in my mind. With that in front of me, I’m looking for the melody and the song. And so how the melody is born is what can be different. 

SMITH: Yeah. So do you then, turn on a recorder and just play until something feels and sounds right, and then you kinda home in on that? 

LANIER: In the beginning I would, I would sort of find it and play it over and over and over and then start recording it. Now with technology, I’m using a really nice studio and digitally capturing ideas, almost like journaling musically, like meditating, and I’m playing and I’m looking and I’m experimenting. And when I do capture it on a recording, then I can listen back and sort of find what I would call the magic, or the wonder, and the mystery, like there’s some really great melody in there somewhere, and it just needs to be magnified and sort of shared creatively. 

I guess it’s a good moment to share Johann Sebastian Bach’s quote. He’s probably my great favorite composer from 1685 to 1750. We know him for Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, which has probably played it more weddings than any instrumental melody—but he said “the aim and final end of all music should be unto the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” That’s so profound and so beautiful, and that’s been my heart as well.

EICHER: That’s Stanton Lanier talking to Warren Smith. To hear the complete conversation, and some of his music, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.

NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, April 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Cal Thomas now on the growing pushback against stay-at-home orders.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

We’re increasingly watching Americans exercise that right in response to the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown and its resulting unemployment “pandemic.” Recent arbitrary executive orders by some governors have driven many who have never before demonstrated into the streets of state capitals, with more likely to come. They want their jobs and country back.

At least some governors are heeding the President Trump’s call to “open up.” Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida announced the reopening of some beaches and parks, with restrictions. 

In Texas, as the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reported, Gov. Greg Abbott “Outlined a careful, phased-in effort to allow businesses to open.” The governor also named advisory panels to suggest next steps. 

Gov. Abbott promised he will be guided by medical data, but let’s hope that doesn’t include the faulty computer models some have relied upon during this crisis. 

Social distancing should continue, but that doesn’t mean restaurants cannot reopen with staff wearing masks and gloves. In warmer climates, outdoor tables and chairs could help bring traffic back to pre-pandemic numbers. 

Restaurant employees are often the most economically vulnerable because many rely heavily on tips. Whatever money they might receive if restaurant owners applied for government loans and grants is not likely to make up the difference.

Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has exchanged compliments with President Trump for the federal assistance given to his state. But last week Inslee accused the president of “fomenting domestic rebellion” with his liberation calls. He added that the president is encouraging “illegal and dangerous acts.”

But I don’t think so. It seems to me that arbitrary, draconian orders pose the most danger.

Last week, Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that permits “kayaking, boating, sailing or canoeing, but not in a motorized pontoon boat or anything that would require a trip to the gas station.” People can “mow their own lawn, but not hire someone to do it.” Michiganders can “travel to care for an elderly relative, but not visit friends or go to second homes.” They can also “go for a walk, but not go golfing.”

Liquor and lottery ticket sales were not banned. With such silly and arbitrary dictates, is it any wonder more people are taking to the streets?

I’m Cal Thomas.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: A special Culture Friday. We’ll include a review of Mrs. America. It’s a cable drama purporting to tell the story of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

And then we’ll talk with theologian Katie McCoy. She’s an assistant professor of theology in women’s studies. It’ll be a lively conversation.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Luke reminds us, fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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