Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to isolate at home means citizens should take the opportunity to catch up with reading, TV viewing, walks and spending time with family. Assuming people adhere to the governor’s order—more on that in a moment–there is an opportunity for government as well—with little traffic it’s a good time to pave the roads.

Admittedly, this is more a hope than a reality in these troubling times looking to find a positive angle in the depressing coronavirus crisis.

But the thought occurred, with fewer people driving the streets, it’s a good time to get as many road projects done or started as possible—all that was promised when the gas tax was raised. Of course, the breadth of carrying out the roadwork will be limited by the number of crews and equipment available and an expected drop in revenue with fewer gasoline purchases, but the jobs can be performed more quickly without causing huge traffic disruptions.

Staying out of the way of the roadwork is the key and that brings us to the focus of this column—follow the governor’s order to stay at home.

Not enough citizens are following the governor’s order. That was brought into focus over the weekend with reports of crowded beaches, trails and parks. But Newsom’s plan, that follows universally accepted medical advice, is to limit the spread of the virus by reducing contacts among individuals.

It is not only the right idea that hopefully will bring positive results in a short period of time, but separation has been recognized as an effective prevention against disease even looking back in history. As Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge wrote in their book, Capitalism in America, in pointing out the longer life spans of Americans compared to Europeans in early America, “diseases found it harder to spread than in Europe’s dense cities.”

The length of the stay at home edict cannot be certain until its effectiveness is determined. The longer the period when people are restrained from travel and businesses are closed the bigger the hit on the economy.

The governor ordered that only essential businesses remain open. In the end, when the economy is understood to be the foundation of modern society because it provides jobs, upward mobility, and yes, taxes for government to function, all businesses are essential.

America has bounced back from difficult economic slumps before—right from the birth of the nation. One historian called the period soon after the War of Independence, the greatest economic income slump ever.

America proceeded to become the world’s leading economy.

The governor recognizes the need to get business up and running again and that’s why it’s important to adhere to the stay at home policy so the crisis can pass as soon as possible, and Californians can get back to their normal lives.

In the meantime, with people off the streets, take the opportunity to pave the roads.