Our View: Getting back to business | TheUnion.com

Our View: Getting back to business

We, as a people and a nation, have been dancing around the future of COVID-19.

The truth is, the coronavirus is here to stay. And we need to start acting like it.

This new normal brings a lot of changes with it, and it’s pretty obvious over the past 18 months that lots of people don’t like change. They don’t like having to wear a mask. They don’t like vaccines. They don’t like social distancing. They don’t like being told what they have to do.

Neither do we. The difference here, however, is we do things we don’t like to protect ourselves, our friends and neighbors, and even strangers. We do these things because we live in a society that requires the individual to forego doing whatever they want, when they want, in favor of the greater whole.

The question here is how to do what’s best for society’s wellness while maintaining our economy’s health.

The easiest way, and the one sitting in front of us, is abiding by the mask requirements instituted by Dr. Scott Kellermann, the county’s public health officer. And, of course, by getting the vaccine.

For some reason, vaccines have been pushed to the forefront of politics and in some cases divided people based off their chosen party. Blaming political opponents and their beliefs isn’t the answer. Appealing to common sense, and education, is.

Last week, a spokesperson for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital said that since vaccines became available, over 90% of its COVID-19 hospitalizations have been unvaccinated people.

The vaccine has been available for months. Millions of Americans have received it, and millions more in countries across the globe. This vaccine saves lives. Just ask the millions of people who have gotten it.

Think of the long-haulers, the ones for whom the impact of the coronavirus has lingered for months, and could continue to linger. They may face permanent damage to their hearts and lungs.

Who knows what else they might face as time slowly marches on?

There’s one thing we do know: We can fight this, take care of ourselves and our community.

There isn’t going to be a return to the shutdowns of last year. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political career couldn’t handle it, and it’s obvious that a majority of people wouldn’t obey. At the height of the pandemic, when restaurants were forbidden to serve indoors, our authorities took an educational approach, not a punitive one. No government is shutting down a business for flouting mask rules. No one is forcing you to wear a mask, despite all the signs that state otherwise.

And if they try, and you don’t like it, you can leave.

The same is true for those upset that a business allows unmasked people inside. Feel unsafe? Then take your money elsewhere. The government can wave all the magic wands it wants, but it either can’t, or won’t, enforce the rules it makes. Just visit a grocery store on any given day for proof of that.

What we can do is enforce our own deeply held beliefs. We can choose who gets our patronage, and where not to take our business.

Unfortunately, this might be the only realistic path to overcoming the pandemic. People who support masks and vaccinations should frequent businesses that share those views. Those opposed to masks and vaccinations should avoid them.

Employees who want good working conditions and a safe work environment will vote with their feet. Customers will vote with their wallets.

Then maybe, after too many more months of dealing with a virus that could have been contained last year if we’d just done the right thing, we’ll move past dancing around the politics of COVID-19.

And get back to real business.

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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