There has been an ongoing argument over who can reopen the economy and about whether public officials should reopen the economy.

Governors can permit the economy to reopen, but only the people can reopen the economy.

Commerce will only happen if people agree to engage in it, and they will continue to engage in much less of it as usual so long as they feel it is not safe to go out in public.

Many of the earliest reopenings will probably be confusing, chaotic, risky affairs — especially for states restarting their economies before most infectious-disease experts and some mayors and residents believe it’s safe to do so.

Once Governor Lamont decides the state can start to reopen it will clearly be done in many phases. Officials discussed whether it makes sense to have young adults, who are less susceptible to getting very ill from the virus, return to work first, while older adults remain isolated. They also spoke about whether it is possible for parts of the state, which have reported lower number of cases, to reopen first.

It’s clear that bars and restaurants will be among the last businesses to reopen. Lamont said that Connecticut, New York and New Jersey will have a coordinated response and plan for restaurants and bars to reopen.

The economy does need to be reopened in due course. But that will only be possible when the broad public feels it is safe to do so.

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