WASHINGTON—Heritage Action for America today announced its “Open American Society” petition has received 50,000 signatures in 12 days.
The petition, which began accepting signatures on April 24, calls on governors around the country to allow business and travel in areas with low COVID-19 incidence and to ensure testing is available for areas with outbreaks. The petition also affirms the importance of constitutional liberties, personal responsibility, and ordinary Americans caring for their neighbors.
“This grassroots milestone makes one thing very clear: Americans are ready to get back to work,” said Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Heritage Action. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a real threat to our health and economic livelihood. Americans quickly responded by flattening the curve and decreasing the level of new cases, and it is time to build on that success and begin to reopen in a smart way.”
Research from The Heritage Foundation shows that lockdown orders may cause an immediate $2 trillion economic loss and raise unemployment to as much as 23%. While the nation succeeded in “flattening the curve” by early April and most cases remain concentrated in a few hotspots around the country, tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs since March, with little end in sight.
Heritage Action also conducted a multi-week phone survey speaking directly with swing voters and found that they too are supportive of reopening business and American society. When asked this week whether they supported reopening businesses or sending more government payments, respondents favored reopening businesses by a nearly 5 to 1 margin. The survey was conducted as part of Project 2020, a grassroots project in North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to reach and engage one million swing voters on policy issues.
“We have heard from business owners who are being forced to shut their doors and lay off their long-time employees — if states don’t open soon, that may be permanent,” Anderson continued. “America is a nation of freedom, and Americans are more than capable of being responsible and taking care of our families and our neighbors. More than 50,000 people agree: governors should take the side of freedom.”
Heritage Action has spread the petition through a network of more than one million grassroots activists and 20,000 grassroots leaders called “Sentinels,” volunteers committed to holding policy makers accountable and fighting for conservative policies. Since the petition began, more than 20 states have announced phased reopenings, with several more set to reopen in the next week.
Heritage Action has led the grassroots effort to call for a reopening based on many recommendations provided by the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a policy effort to inform policymakers’ reopening plans. The Commission has to date issued 179 in-depth policy recommendations to help state and local governments ensure a speedy health and economic recovery through an “all of society” approach.