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Guest Editorial: Where do we go from here?
Guest Editorial

Guest Editorial: Where do we go from here?

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The pandemic is polarizing. Protestors are frustrated. Some public health experts seem callous to the pandemic’s collateral damage to small businesses.

Drastic measures flattened the curve and gave the hospitals a buffer. It would be easier to praise the shutdown if we now had a systematic testing scheme to identify asymptomatic carriers, and could use tracking to prevent new hotspots.

Wearing of masks, gloves and social distancing is this year’s “new normal.” The protests of unmasked persons who stand without gloves in close proximity to one another are careless and self-defeating if they want others to respect their judgment.

The question “Where do we go from here,” remains unanswered. The yellow-coding that arrives on Friday does not signal that employees or business invitees are now any safer.

Why must hair stylists, who invested decades in building their businesses and practicing safe hygiene, remain red-coded and closed?

Why must socially-distanced gatherings of people in outside public spaces be limited to 25 or fewer?

Isn’t it unconstitutional to restrict religious services if social distancing of 6 feet is kept between persons from separate households in an outside venue or a well-ventilated church?

Similar questions predominate as communities struggle to balance personal freedom, economic stability and public health. Salaried public figures, who are immune from economic suffering, are easy targets of frustration.

At its worst, the pandemic feeds such frustration. At its best, it causes people to come together. The process of cross-pollinating positive ideas creates understanding and hope.

Last week, we hosted a virtual meeting of a dozen small businesses, each of which provides long-term care services. Most of us have experienced COVID-19 deaths of clients. We seemed to agree that we must continue to practice and promote new safety protocols for our employees and clients until development of a vaccine can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the strains that mutate off it.

It is time for us all to create ways to stay safe together and remain hopeful. Let’s recognize, practice and model safe behaviors without the government needing to control us. As a person with higher risk than those who are younger and healthier, I sadly declined an invitation to a Memorial Day picnic.

I am grateful that Dickinson College had the good sense to cancel Bluegrass on the Grass, though I will miss it terribly.

I am “one of those people” who will politely challenge others at the grocery store to respect my right not to have my space invaded. I hope others will do likewise, especially as more retail opens.

We can and must love our neighbors while socially distancing. Government can neither fix the COVID-19 problem, nor guarantee our safety until a vaccine is manufactured. Entrepreneurial investment will provide devices to promote safety until an effective vaccine is distributed.

Without COVID-19, now would be NBA Playoff time, when the best officials keep their whistles in their pockets and allow the hard play of the best athletes to determine the champion. Our district attorney, sheriff and county commissioners recently made statements that set a positive and patient tone, restrained and worthy like the best NBA officials.

Practice safe behavior around others with a motivation of love and not fear. Find joy in being personally sacrificial to allow others to maintain hope for the lives of their small businesses and loved ones.

Do your part, whether it is staying safe at home and ordering take-out from your favorite restaurants, or getting back to work while wearing a mask and gloves. Practice social distancing in public spaces to respect the safety and rights of others. Be hopeful.

Dave Nesbit is a Medicare-eligible attorney who is the founder of Keystone Elder Law P.C.

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