In a major shift in tone and policy, President Donald Trump extended the voluntary social distancing guidelines to April 30. The Easter aspirational deadline is gone. “By June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery,” Mr. Trump said Sunday.
On Saturday, the president floated the idea of a mandatory federal quarantine for the New York area. He backed off. But this past week, the governors of Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas ordered anyone arriving from New York to self-quarantine. And Rhode Island took a tougher stand: a mandatory quarantine for all out-of-staters. Initially, the Ocean State governor ordered state police and National Guard to stop drivers with New York State license plates. By Sunday, police had checkpoints on major roads into the state, stopping all out-of-state motorists and telling them to self-quarantine for 14 days. The weekend’s events heightened tensions over federal vs. state responsibilities for protecting citizens, and introduced a new wrinkle: state vs. state rights. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo railed against a federal quarantine and called Rhode Island’s order "reactionary" and unconstitutional. States may isolate their own citizens under policing powers derived from the 10th Amendment, reported the Monitor’s Peter Grier. But what we’re seeing now is new legal territory.
2. A portrait of leadership. What does challenging fear and uncertainty look like in a crisis? Ask Germans. Until this past week, Angela Merkel was a lame-duck chancellor. After 14 years as the de facto leader of Europe, she was stepping down. Soon. But not yet. Mrs. Merkel seized the reins this past Wednesday in a rare televised address. “What gave her address its force was her tone, which was direct, honest, and searingly empathic. She laid bare not just the test we all face but also the solace that leadership can provide,” wrote Justin Davidson at New York Magazine. “This is a war without a human enemy, and Merkel lay no blame. She asked for the sacrifice of discipline, for heroic acts of kindness.”
3. An American civil rights icon. The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a fiery Alabama preacher who was on the front line of the battle for equality and a close friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died Friday. Lowery had a knack for cutting to the core of the country’s conscience with commentary steeped in scripture, and he spoke his mind whether the audience was a Jim Crow racist or a U.S. president, reported the Associated Press.
“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right,” Lowery prayed at President Barack Obama’s inaugural benediction in 2009.
Monday, March 30
Late night for one night. You won’t find talk-show hosts Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, or Jimmy Fallon back on the air. But James Corden returns with a star-studded special, including Billie Eilish, Andrea Bocelli, David Blaine, Dua Lipa, and Will Ferrell. It airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on CBS and CBS All Access.
Tuesday, March 31
Eclectic musical retrospective. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has been moved from April to October. But you can get your jam on by watching the debut of the documentary film, “Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert,” scheduled to premiere tonight on YouTube.
Wednesday, April 1
It's Census Day, no fooling. By now most Americans should have received a census form in the mail. Today is the official reminder day to fill it out and send it in. This once-in-a-decade headcount is critical to aligning democratic representation and federal funding.
Early movie releases. Hollywood continues to move up streaming release dates as movie theaters shutter. Today, the third installment of the buddy-cop franchise “Bad Boys for Life,” gets released. Also, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is out today, an animated live-action film with Jim Carrey playing the villain.
Small business owners in the U.S. are responding to the coronavirus lockdowns with ingenious solutions. Closed hair salons are delivering to clients’ homes professional hair color kits. Yoga and gym classes are held via video streaming. The most successful responses seem to be drawing on a well of goodwill they’ve built up within their communities.
In Fairfax, Va., Mark O’Meara, the owner of two shuttered movie theaters, is selling $3 buckets of popcorn in the parking lot. What impresses me about Mr. O’Meara are his motives. Last week, he was losing sleep over trying to find a way to help his employees. “I have a lot of kids working here that make a living on a shoestring...,” O’Meara told Variety. “They can’t afford to lose more than one or two shifts a week, and I don’t know what to do.”
Then, he hit on the idea of a drive-up concession stand. He put the word out on Facebook. This week, sales averaged $300 to $400 a day. Mr. O’Meara just jumped into streaming indy films too, selling tickets to each showing. He watched as an employee opened her latest paycheck. “She took out her calculator and she said, ‘Yes, I can pay the rent.’ That’s what it’s all about,” O’Meara told Variety.
Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:
In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about local musicians trying to make a living when the clubs are closed.
Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:
- When tornadoes are only the first of your worries
- Coronavirus and recession: How is this economic crisis different?
- Zoom Shabbat, drive-through confessional: Faith during coronavirus
- Hoops and homework: Why one man shelved retirement
- How to transform pantry staples into comfort food
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