North La Crosse business owner asks: When will we get ‘all clear’ on COVID-19?

'Where do we set our sights on hope?' NLBA President Nick Roush wonders
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Health-care workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at the state's first drive-up testing center on March 12 in Denver. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – A North La Crosse business owner has issued an impassioned plea for some hint about when the “all clear” signal can be announced on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every single person in America,” Nick Roush wrote in a declaration Friday addressed to fellow members of the North La Crosse Business Association, government officials, La Crosse community leaders and fellow humans.
“As I’ve said previously, the actual sickness will touch some, the economic effects will touch EVERYONE…period,” wrote Roush, president of the NLBA, owner of Roush Rentals and co-owner with his wife, Mandy, of Root Down Yoga.Nick Roush
“This week in the restaurant/bar industry alone, 15 million Americans essentially lost their jobs — most of whom were relying on tonight’s tips to buy tomorrow’s groceries — they have no savings or backup plan,” Roush said.
“The plain and simple fact is that 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. We ALL need to work to survive — there is no bailout big enough.
“We have done what government and health officials have asked us to do. We have closed our businesses in the hopes of ‘flattening the curve of sickness.’ And I sincerely hope those efforts make a difference in both the spread of the disease and healthcare’s ability to respond to it,” wrote Roush, who also is a yoga teacher at Root Down.
“To be clear, this isn’t a story about someone else — I closed my business, too. I have the utmost compassion and empathy for those whom the disease will afflict — we all do. It is incredibly sad when disease strikes and takes its toll on our lives. “Sad is too small a word.”
“Unfortunately, in tandem with every responsible effort we are making to flatten the curve, the disease will inevitably run its course — just as every disease has throughout human history. And as painful as that truth might be, our survival depends on our choice to soldier on,” Roush said.
“Just as history has demonstrated, I can wish all I want for it to stop, but it doesn’t help. We have to face the truth of our circumstances and figure out how to keep moving ahead.
“Every American must set their sights forward. We must pick our heads up and look beyond the panic and fear of the moment to ask, ‘What do we need to see for this to end? What is the endpoint that says we can get back to life? Where do we set our sights on hope?”
“Many of us are thinking about these questions, but very few are actually asking them. As I sit in quiet contemplation, I think these questions may be the most important ones we can ask.
“In simple words, the question I think every American needs to ask is this: ‘What is the concrete metric that says “All Clear?” I need hope and I need to get back to work, I need to buy groceries to feed my family…”
“In longer words: ‘OK, government officials — I’m not going to work. Now you have to give me some hope. You have to give me an endpoint to all this. Tell me the concrete measurement that says, ‘All Clear,’ so we can get back to work. I fully appreciate that this question is hard to answer, but nonetheless, it must be answered. Our very survival depends on it…
“Again: ‘What is the concrete metric that says ‘All Clear?’ I need hope and I need to get back to work, I need to buy groceries to feed my family.”
“This is not a political question. This is not a Democratic or Republican question. This is a HUMAN question, and it must be answered. Every American’s life depends on it.
“Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you feel compelled to pass this forward and that we all are compelled to ask the question of the powers that be. We’ve trusted them to tell us what to do so far — now we need them to tell us what we’re looking for to move forward.
“And we’ll all move forward, together. I believe in the indomitable American spirit to recover. We just need to know what has to happen to start our recovery,” Roush concluded.