New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | June 1, 2020

Editorial: Reopening the state doesn’t mean you have to return to society

By Andre Jones | May 19, 2020 11:30 pm

As states begin to lift restrictions, it may signify a reopening of our lives. However, it does not necessarily mean we have to return to them at this current time.

As we enter week nine of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Virginia, the battle remains an internal one if we should reopen the state at portions of a time or should we continue with social distancing and staying at home. Even with Governor Northam having restrictions in place for places to open doors at again with minimal capacity and distances in measures, the fact of the matter is that we, as individuals, have to make that choice if we go to those places.

As a citizen and local, I want to continue to support businesses as much as I can during these difficult times. Precautions are in place to protect me, but it is ultimately my decision if I want to go out if I’m not working. There are instances where people have no choice but to return to work. But going out to enjoy recreational activities that are usually normal (such as go to the gym or the beach) now come with guidelines to stay six feet apart and minimize interaction with others.

There are so many issues of morality that we are dealing with that it makes effective leadership difficult. Do leaders lift restrictions and tell everybody to go back to doing things the normal way, knowing that it could enhance the spread? Or do people remain at home and keep to themselves with the stay-at-home order?

Unfortunately, there are going to be people who defy the orders that are meant to be set as guidelines for our safety and protocol. But apparently, the realization has not set in for everybody that when we do return to society, there are going to be risks involved.

Let us be realistic. Social distancing everywhere will not happen and cannot happen. Even today, when we travel to stores, we cannot avoid passing a person within six feet when picking up an item. How are people supposed to ride buses and sit six feet apart? That essentially reduces capacity from 100 percent to 30 percent, or even less.

The point I’m making is this: We have a choice to return when things truly reopen. While restrictions are being lifted, we must make the best decisions for each other and for society. There are going to be risks from here on out, no matter where we go. From attending a church service to sitting in the stands at a sporting event, the choice will be yours to attend, knowing that somebody could be a symptom carrier. If you don’t believe that, then ask yourself this: Do you turn your head when you hear somebody cough or sneeze? Honestly, you probably do it more often than you use to do it.

In conclusion, stay safe. Make decisions that are right for you. More importantly, make decisions that can be better for others. Don’t let your pride and selfishness blind you from choices that could be the difference between healthiness and sickness.