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During a Tuesday interview on "The Hugh Hewitt Show," Attorney General Bill Barr said the Department of Justice (DOJ) may have to push back against governors who exceed their authority with regard to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.
Observing social distancing measures and embracing strict sanitary practices is wise, Barr explained. However, blanket orders that close businesses and force people to stay at home across the board, could hurt the country in the long run.
"Blunter instruments that say everyone has to shelter in place, to stay at home regardless of the situation on the ground, or you know, you shut down a business regardless of the capacity of the business to operate safely for its customers and its employees, those are very blunt instruments," he said.
"I also think that we have to give businesses more freedom to operate in a way that’s reasonably safe," Barr added. "I think the president’s guidance has been, as I say, superb and very commonsensical, and I think a lot of the governors are following that. And you know, to the extent that governors don’t.... impinge on either civil rights or on the national commerce, our common market that we have here, then we’ll have to address that."
This news comes after citizens in several states – including California, Michigan, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio and New Jersey – have organized protests against stay-at-home orders that will run into next month.
Barr also said these restrictions were meant to be temporary and should not be looked at as a sustainable solution.
“These are very, very burdensome impingements on liberty, and we adopted them, we have to remember, for the limited purpose of slowing down the spread, that is bending the curve,” he added.
“We didn’t adopt them as the comprehensive way of dealing with this disease. And we are now seeing that these are bending the curve, and now we have to come up with more targeted approaches."
As of Tuesday, there were over 800,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and over 43,000 fatalities.