The global pandemic continues to ravage all facets of human society.
Some countries around the world are trying to go back to "normal."
Others are losing citizens faster than they can count at this point.
Here in the U.S., public opinion on the path forward is mixed - or at least nuanced - and at times, debate has been intense.
It's no surprise that some are looking to the future and concerned that some aspects of current lockdown orders are overkill.
Expressing such an opinion - in the form of a plea for Governor Gavin Newsom to reopen certain service businesses in California - landed Vicki Gunvalson in some hot water this week.
Now, the legendary Real Housewives of Orange County star is addressing that controversial Twitter plea, speaking exclusively to The Hollywood Gossip to explain and clarify her meaning.
Unlike some callous and malicious statements made by people she could've named (she didn't, but we can't help but do so), Vicki says that she only has people's best interests at heart.
Allow Gunvalson to explain below - we're sure she'll be addressing the matter on her popular Whoop It Up With Vicki podcast, airing on Podcast One, as well - and see if you agree with her:
Uh oh, Vicki!
Vicki stirred up a hornet's nest on Twitter, to say the least. She's outspoken at a time when the country is in a state of upheaval and everyone is already on edge. But after some intense backlash, Vicki is gently clapping back - and offering a thorough explanation.
Vicki issued a very polarizing plea
What did she say, in case you missed it? "Let’s get America who is healthy back to work," Vicki tweeted at California's governor earlier this week. "We need hairdressers, nail techs, small business’s and restaurants to start reopening May 1st. Please?"
Fans had a lot to say
Vicki was accused of being "tone deaf" and of wanting to "whoop it up," to borrow her catch phrase, but the OG of the OC denies the latter, explaining: "I said we need to get back to work. Been in quarantine for 2 months as I’m sure you have." (Most shelter-in-place orders began during the second half of March, but March DID feel like it lasted a whole year.)
If you're gonna be mad about somebody's take on this ...
Vicki expressed a desire to reopen the state. Whether you agree with her or not, she meant well and didn't write anything incendiary. Meanwhile, her fellow OC housewife Kelly Dodd straight up called this devastating, deadly pandmic "God's way of thinning the herd." That's a great tagline for The Real Housewives of Eugenics, but not an okay thing to say.
Now, Vicki is clarifying her comments
Speaking to The Hollywood Gossip exclusively, Vicki begins: "I want to explain what I meant when I tweeted to the Governor, ‘Let’s get America who is healthy back to work. We need hairdressers, nail techs, small businesses, and restaurants to start reopening May 1st. Please.’"
She has heard the critics loud and clear
"I see that I’m getting attacked for it," Vicki acknowledges to THG, "and I don’t think people understand where I’m coming from whatsoever."
Vicki is viewing this crisis through a specific lens
"I am in the insurance business," Vicki reminds her fans and critics alike, and that's how she's viewing this, as a small business - one that exists to help other small businesses. She adds, "I work day and night in a business I built from the ground up to protect people’s assets."
She's not thinking of herself
"People who work at (and own) restaurants, people who do hair, nails, etc., and small business owners, as well, cannot work from home," Vicki points out. "They are losing their shirts financially every single day and the risk factor is huge."
She is also not in denial
"I am not undermining the importance of taking precautions in relation to coronavirus whatsoever," Vicki emphasizes, making it clear she's no denier of the sverity of the situation. "We are living in very scary times and obviously the virus is a legitimate concern."
She has seen the horrors of this pandemic
"People are dying and it’s horribly sad to see, especially with it running the gamut from young to old," the Bravo star laments. "My thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost loved ones."
"With that being said, though - and in no way am I taking away from the grief these people are dealing with - we are setting ourselves up for a lot of risk going forward if we don’t start to reopen things," Vicki predicts.
Vicki encourages caution
"I’m not encouraging a salon to open and six chairs to be next to each other and people all on top of each other," she clarifies. "Rather, if a hair salon (for example) could open, wear appropriate protective equipment (such as masks and gloves they change after each client) and ensure clients are socially distanced from one another, the benefit to the business surviving is massive."
That would be risk mitigation
"Also, if low numbers are present at a time and social distancing measures are taken into account, it would likely be low risk," Vicki suggests.
How long, she asks, can things go on like this?
"Continuing to prolong the time that these businesses are closed is going to do one thing in the long run," Vicki predicts, saying that this crisis will "put the majority of them out of business and put more strain on our already tapped out unemployment system."
She fears a real collapse
"We will go from one of the world’s best countries," Vicki worries, "to a country that is suffering from a massive depression that will likely see increases in crime, unemployment, debt, home foreclosures, poverty, and starving people, just to name a few things."
It is Vicki's job to predict what might go wrong
Not because she's a celebrity. For her actual job. "As an insurance person," she reasons, "I have to weigh risks and benefits all day and the risk is so grave here."
She hopes that this helps fans understand
"That’s all I meant by my tweet," Vicki reiterates to THG. "I do apologize to anyone I offended, as that is never my intention and I have always looked out for everyone’s best interests."
She was NOT being malicious
"But, please, I ask you consider what I meant rather than continuing to attack me," Vicki asks.
You know who WAS being malicious?
"It’s not like I claimed that the deaths that happened would have happened anyway and this is God’s way of herding out people like Kelly Dodd did," Vicki points out, and she's not wrong - she expressed an opinion, and argued it very rationally. This was not a sweeping condemnation of millions of people to die by divine wrath ... or indifference.
And to her fans, Vicki says
"I appreciate your continued support of me and know, from the bottom of my heart, I am looking out for all of you," Vicki concludes.
What do you think?
Agree or disagree with Vicki's opinion, but she's definitely right about her intentions - she's worried about whether more people will suffer and die if they lose their livelihoods while playing it safe.
That is a tough question to answer
Some say that we will all need to see how things play out in states that reopen before we can know how safe things are. Neither Vicki nor her daughter Briana live in states that are opening this soon.
IS Vicki right?
Really, only time - and hindsight will tell. Actually, we may never know which precise date is the absolute best for reopening any given place, and historians may debate so much of this for generations to come. Eventually, political leaders working with pandemic experts, doctors, and even economists will have to pick a date, whether it's next month as Vicki suggests or next year.
At least she was honest
Vicki stated her opinion, and stood by it, even though she knows that she's in the minority according to national polls. How many Real Housewives have opinions as bad as Kelly's but just enough sense to not blurt it out? We'll take honest controversy over that.
Vicki won't be the last
As this pandemic continues, we're going to hear more people impatient for the nation to reopen. Everyone has an opinion, and we all need to be reasonably patient with one another as we all react to this crisis.