As we continue trying to navigate our way through uncharted territory with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become pretty obvious we are in a constantly evolving situation, and no one has a real clear vision as to what we may encounter down the road.
That’s understandable, since these are unprecedented times — this country has never faced anything quite like this. We have encountered and conquered many challenges in the past, to be sure, but what makes our present circumstances so unique is that we are fighting an invisible enemy, and with so many unknowns, much of the path forward has been by trial and error.
One of the biggest challenges facing decision-makers right now is how to maintain an air of caution while, at the same time, keeping our economy from going further down the toilet. Businesses are struggling, and there are many that will not survive. Here in Lincoln County, the number of unemployment claims is higher than at any time in our history.
People are eager to get back to normal, but let’s be honest, we are a long way from normal. And it will take baby steps to get us there. Probably one thing many of us could use more of is patience — in this country we’re not used to having to wait for what we want. But patience will be a key word in the coming weeks and months.
We strongly support the decision to move forward with phase one of reopening, which is giving some of our businesses a glimmer of hope. But at the same time, it also seems to have been an invitation for visitors from outside the county to come here in droves. That was obvious over the Memorial Day weekend. If you were out and about at all, you witnessed the traffic and the people milling about as if it were a normal holiday weekend. But it wasn’t, and we shouldn’t act as though all of the health concerns are behind us.
According to the experts, there is a very real possibility of a new spike in infections if we let down our guard too soon. And some say what we have experienced up to now may seem mild compared to what could happen if we don’t maintain a proper degree of caution.
We’re not saying people should hide at home, but at the same time, we need to be smart about how we interact with others. And businesses should be allowed to resume operations if they can do so safely — again, taking adequate measures to limit potential exposure as much as possible.
There really needs to be a balance, and that means considering not just our own needs, but also being mindful of the safety and wellbeing of those around us. When we get through this — and we will — it is our hope that we can look back and say this is a time that brought us all together, not one that drove us apart.