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Our View: Seeking a middle path

The Union Editorial Board

At some point we collectively lost our minds over the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re not exactly sure when, but it likely was in late May when the state slowly began reopening aspects of its economy.

Up to that point most of us listened to the medical experts and stayed indoors. We kept to our curbside purchases and furiously washed our hands at every moment. We wore masks, seeking them out before they become commonplace in every store. We were compliant, for the most part.

Then, after several weeks of quarantining ourselves, we got anxious. We wanted a return to our normal lives. Businesses began reopening, and plenty of us fell back into our old ways, acting like there was no virus.

Now, just a few short weeks afterward, it seems like we’re garbed in post-apocalyptic fashion and screaming for the Thunderdome.

And that’s a little crazy.

The coronavirus, like most everything in the current day, has become a victim of politics. It seems like you’re either locked inside your home with wards against deviltry cast on your doors and windows, or you’re defying the governor’s shutdown order and crowding into Disney World without a mask.

If only there were some middle ground, a moderate approach we could use instead.

Experts are now saying this fall and winter will be one of the most challenging times in the nation’s public health. The resurgence of the flu during colder months, coupled with the ever-present coronavirus, promises to strain our hospitals.

These experts say it’s how we behave now that will affect what happens once the weather cools in a few months.

So let’s be rational, and do this right.

Let’s be frank: our country won’t remain in lockdown until we have a vaccine. It’s not feasible, and people won’t accept it. They’re proving how much they’re willing to accept right now by flaunting rules about wearing masks and social distancing. Some local businesses have openly said they won’t obey the governor’s most recent order curtailing in-person dining.

Meanwhile, county officials say they’re focused on education and, so far, haven’t shut down anyone.

This teaches us a couple of things: our government is composed of regular folks like us, and our communal will tends to shape how our government officials act.

Local government may very well close some businesses that violate the governor’s latest order. People will still resist, refuse to wear masks and spout nonsense masquerading as science. Their refusal to abide by simple safety measures, out of some false belief that the government’s treading on them, will only exacerbate our medical and economic problems.

And we’ll continue to fall together in this hand basket.

Unless, of course, we seek the middle path.

It’s a path few people will like, because we all have to do something we don’t want to get us through this.

People who are significantly compromised, and must avoid the coronavirus at all costs, will stay indoors for months, maybe over a year. No community can be trusted to wear a mask, and these immunocompromised folks must look out for themselves.

Businesses, regardless of their individual beliefs, should enforce the governor’s mask order and prohibition on indoor dining. Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout is right — businesses that don’t comply put our community in jeopardy of not receiving Coronavirus Relief Funds, which in turn are used to help our local organizations that will assist us through this pandemic.

That means businesses should make their patrons wear masks, and the patrons themselves need to voluntarily mask up. And a few business closures just might get the attention of the others who feel like straying.

You buckle up when you get in the car. You stop at the traffic light when it’s red. Wear a mask for the short periods of time you interact with others at a store or restaurant. If you can’t, resort to curbside or takeout only.

We all need to take these little steps toward bringing our world back to normal.

That’s what we all want, isn’t it? Or have you lost your mind?

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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