In a desperate attempt to feel “back to normal,” a Michigan construction worker recently crossed state lines into Ohio for a service still not yet available under lockdown in the Great Lakes State.

“It feels amazing,” Nawal Hamade told the Detroit News, after driving roughly 10 miles from Temperance, Michigan, to Toledo, Ohio, to get a pedicure. “Staying at home was getting depressing,” she said. Imagine that.

However, Hamade is not alone in her feelings or actions. More than 2,000 miles away, Olympia, Washington-resident J Farr grappled with a similar circumstance when he drove 600 miles to Northern California for a haircut, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The $20-dollar cut was “exactly what I had hoped for,” said Farr. On the other hand, his actions leave less hope for chances to control the coronavirus pandemic.

A symptom of our country’s pocked pandemic response, how and when states begin reopening their economies is often a tale of two cities — in some cases like LA, two counties, and sometimes regional when it comes to time frames. Add to that the current global protests calling for racial justice in the killing of George Floyd, and it becomes clear that states will be operating on their own timelines for quite some time.  

The state of Ohio is following a timeline outlined in its Responsible RestartOhio plan, which includes protocols for business closures, openings, sector specific operations and coronavirus contact tracing. Head north across state lines and business is governed by Michigan’s MI Safe Start Plan, which includes a six-phase process to “reengage” the state’s economy slowly, safely, that could be months behind Ohio’s timeline. 

Exactly how those initial reopening plans have been impacted by city-wide protests is too soon to tell. However, you don’t need a map to predict how such an imbalance in priorities between states will affect business in the short term. There is nothing stopping construction workers from traveling to neighboring states to work on job sites. However, if you’re a surveyor looking to cross state lines to find quick work in an open economy, it is a game you mostly won’t be allowed to play under current NCEES policies and model rules.

In a blunt criticism earlier this year by our columnist Jeffery N. Lucas, PLS, Esq., he likened the NCEES’ current model rules to being a restraint on trade for surveyors. In a recently published response, the NCEES reinforced and reaffirmed the integrity of its policy process.

Whatever your point of view, we can all agree that today’s decisions are becoming increasingly difficult to uphold in tomorrow’s post-pandemic world. Perhaps the surveying industry could benefit from a reopening plan, too.


A version of this article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of POB