Microsoft founder Bill Gates is advocating for American bars and restaurants to remain closed for months, as coronavirus cases and deaths have increased in recent weeks.
Gates, who is worth $118.8 billion and one of the richest people in the world, stated to CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on Sunday that he believes it is “appropriate” for bars and restaurants “in most of the country” to be closed.
“More than 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently or long-term across the country as the industry grapples with the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Bloomberg News has reported. “The industry has pleaded for aid, with many pinning their hopes on the Restaurants Act, which would establish a $120 billion fund to help restaurants, as well as a second draw of the Paycheck Protection Program.”
“Well, certainly, mask-wearing has essentially no downside. They’re not expensive,” Gates told Tapper. “Bars and restaurants in most of the country will be closed as we go into this wave. And I think, sadly, that’s appropriate. Depending on how severe it is, the decision about schools is much more complicated, because, there, the benefits are pretty high, the amount of transmission is not the same as in restaurants and bars.”
Gates continued, “So, trade-offs will have to be made. But this — the next four to six months really call on us to do our best because we can see that this will end, and you don’t want somebody you love to be the last to die of coronavirus.”
When questioned about when life will return to normal, Gates responded, “Certainly by the summer, [we’ll] be way closer to normal than we are now.”
“But even through early 2022, unless we help other countries get rid of this disease, and we get high vaccination rates in our country, the risk of reintroduction will be there and, of course, the global economy will be slowed down, which hurts America economically in a pretty dramatic way,” he added. “So, we’ll have, starting in the summer, about nine months where a few things, like big public gatherings, will still be restricted. But we can see now that, somewhere between 12 to 18 months, we have a chance, if we manage it well, to get back to normal.”