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Our View: Take a careful approach to reopening

The Union Editorial Board

Nevada County is a Pandora’s Box right now.

However, there’s a key difference between our community and the legendary box: If we wait long enough, no ills will befall us when we open it.

Of course, if we wait that long plenty of suffering awaits in the form of lost jobs, wages and opportunity, not to mention mental health concerns and domestic violence.

It’s obvious we need to open that box because our livelihoods depend on it. We need to return to our jobs, our friends and our community events. We need Nevada County to, well, be itself.

But the world’s biggest ill lurks inside that box. That leads governments and individual businesses to weigh the questions of the day: When do I reopen? How do I do so safely?

It’s worth staring at that box a long time before answering.

COVID-19 has wrecked the economy. You’ve likely felt its effects, even if you’re lucky enough to have kept your job.

We shut down the planet to stop a surge on the hospitals and halt the virus’ spread. In Northern California, it appears we’ve done a great job. The state has laid out a process for counties to reopen, and Nevada County has hit all the marks. You can sit down in a Nevada County restaurant today, if you like.

But just like each business, we as individuals have tough choices to make before ordering that side of fries.

Some people won’t feel comfortable venturing out yet, and that’s fine. They’ve likely already figured out how to minimize their shopping trips, and want to see how a reopened world appears after a few weeks before making the big step.

Others are past ready to return to work and everyday life. A $1,200 check of our own money from the federal government doesn’t last long, and we all need an income.

Despite the swell of reopenings, everyday life isn’t coming back entirely. Not yet.

We’ll be sitting at safe distances from each other. The person who brings you your food should be wearing a mask. You should be sanitizing your hands more than usual.

We all want to open the box, but just a little at first. You never know when we might have to slam it shut again.

Experts already are talking about the strong possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus. This virus won’t run its course and disappear forever, especially when you consider out-of-towners escaping their city confines for the greener pastures of Nevada County. It’ll be around for awhile, but that doesn’t mean we shelter in place until there’s a vaccine. Real life asserts itself daily. It won’t be denied.

There will be people who scream that it’s too early to reopen. They will always say that, regardless of the amount of time that’s passed. There also will be those who demand we reopen much earlier than we should. No amount of data will persuade them otherwise.

And the government is a great target of ire, regardless of what actions it takes. Elected officials will catch hell no matter what they do. That’s why they should follow the science, gradually reopen, let people and businesses make their own decisions about when to follow suit and prepare to shift gears if it all goes south again.

What should we, the regular folks who live here, do? What we’ve done since the beginning: take precautions, wash your hands, wear masks.

If we do this right, regular, daily life will slowly reemerge. And that’s a good thing. After all, we’ve been boxed in for awhile.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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