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We Can’t Take More Shutdowns

Our 10-county region — the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio — had just 7,227 people on the unemployment rolls in September 2019. By this September, the most recent month for which statistics were available, the number had soared to 12,442.

We all know why the economy went into a hole earlier this year: COVID-19. Business closings last spring and ongoing restrictions on many employers have hit hard.

Though partial recovery from the worst of it last spring has been swift, thousands of area residents remain unemployed. Some of them will never get their old jobs back.

As the coronavirus epidemic grows worse, concern is growing that the economy will be shut down again.

Our Ohio Valley cannot afford that. Scores, perhaps hundreds, of local business cannot, either.

More to the point, another shutdown would devastate thousands of families — and add to the continuing misery of thousands more where breadwinners remain without work.

It appears both West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine understand that ways have to be found to fight COVID-19 without killing our states’ economies. They are right to recognize that high, long-term unemployment can be deadly, too.

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