Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Editorial: The COVID pandemic is global, and the road to recovery is, too

Editorial: The COVID pandemic is global, and the road to recovery is, too

  • 0
Containers stacked high

Containers stacked high are seen Sept. 28 at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Biden administration announced two important steps that should bolster the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. On Tuesday, the White House said it would lift travel restrictions at the borders with Canada and Mexico, reestablishing some ties after months of lockdowns spurred by COVID-19. And Wednesday, the administration unveiled a brokered agreement with major ports, retailers and shippers to operate around the clock, a move that should ease the backlog in consumer goods. They are more reminders that America must confront a global pandemic on a global front.

The U.S. will lift restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November, opening the border to non-essential travel for the first time since the pandemic exploded in March 2020. The closures have been devastating for many families and border communities, and reopening them is another step toward normalizing tourism and trade along these busy corridors.

The administration also moved to clear a logjam in the supply chain that’s holding up the delivery of consumer goods. President Joe Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, following a commitment the Port of Long Beach announced two weeks ago. These are among the largest ports in the world, and together, they account for 40 percent of the shipping containers that America imports into the country.

The extended hours will help speed the offloading of dozens of containers ships that are currently waiting to berth. Biden also announced Wednesday that the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, and other companies, including Target, Home Depot, FedEx and UPS, had agreed to vastly expand operations in off-peak hours, in what the president called a “step toward moving our entire freight transportation and logistical supply chain, nationwide, to a 24/7 system.” That should help thousands of major retailers and smaller outlets as Americans clamor for everything from bicycles and toys to laptops and lawn chairs. The shortages have helped increase inflation, which jumped more than expected last month, and have also helped sap Biden’s approval ratings.

The administration waited too long to act, but these moves will grease the economy and inject some much-needed confidence among Americans as the holiday season approaches. More locally, the same’s true for the return of the cruise industry to Tampa Bay. After more than a year and a half, the industry sails again this weekend when the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas departs Tampa for a five-night cruise to the Bahamas. Cruises normally bring in more than one-fifth of Port Tampa Bay’s annual revenue. Their return marks the reemergence of a vital industry and an engine for a growing port.

Of course, there’s only so much that opening the borders, working midnight hours, and resuming cruises can do to strengthen the global recovery. The pandemic has shut down manufacturing and closed transportation loops across the worldwide supply chain. And many countries that play a key role in producing consumer goods are still plagued by low vaccination rates. Returning the international order to normal will take time.

But opening the ports and borders is an essential step in managing the pandemic. And it shows America’s self-interest in upping the fight against COVID-19 abroad.

— Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board

Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Coal miner Betsy Mallum and the family doctor who delivered her, Sam Finnix, are not real people. But the harrowing things we see them endure on our television screens really did happen to all too many people in Southwest Virginia.

The violent 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville was a sickening and awful ordeal that no community should have to endure. The sight of neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching at the University of Virginia and clashing in the streets with counterprotesters won’t soon fade from memory. While no amount of money can bring back Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed that day, or ...

Children are good. They may be sticky, loud and misbehaved. But that doesn’t make children, in themselves, any less good. It just makes them children — the adorable, needy, frustrating, chaotic and absolutely irreplaceable building blocks of society, and of human civilization itself. But children are also costly. It’s not just about money, though money’s certainly part of it. Even if you shop ...

It was a record-scratch of a moment: Texas actor and potential gubernatorial hopeful Matthew McConaughey, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, declared in an interview last week that his younger children are unvaccinated and that he wants more information. The comment sparked a headline frenzy and touched off waves of dismay and judgment on social media, where all nuance goes to die. But ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alert