Summer has arrived in Little Egypt. Today promises to be the hottest day of the year. Along with the heat has come increased social activity. People are enjoying al fresco dining with social distancing and a law was passed, yesterday, that permits bars and restaurants to sell mixed drinks to-go. The drinks are placed into a plastic container and sealed and must be housed in the trunk of your automobile…until you arrive at your destination. I bet you thought that we Southern Illinoisans would be imbibing as we leisurely walked the sidewalks of Carbondale? Remember this is Illinois…not New Orleans, Louisiana! When we visited New Orleans, a few years ago, we did enjoy an adult beverage as we toured Bourbon Street…and drank in the freedom…and the abundance of excess!
I felt like a child as I waited for my first haircut…in a long time. I first drove past my regular barber shop and observed several people standing outside the building awaiting their turn. I did not relish the idea of a couple of hours of standing. So, I drove by another shop, that I attend periodically, and they had provided outside chairs for the waiting customers. There were more stylist that I had ever seen in the shop. I noticed that when those that were in front of me, in the queue, went in…they were not there long. To receive a haircut you had to have a face-mask on, as did your barber. The young woman who cut my hair, stood several feet behind me until I was prepared for the event. Then the clippers did fly! It was almost like being surrounded by one of those cartoon whirlwinds that I used to watch when I was a boy. Soon it was over and it looked good. I paid and exited…straightaway!
I marvel as I read social media postings that make light of the fact that the news is currently covering the protests surrounding the murder of Mr. George Floyd, and not talking about the pandemic…. The protests and outrage are occurring simultaneously with the devastation of the Coronavirus.
Now that some restrictions have been lifted, it is not the time to gather in large groups without face masks. There is no solution for the virus until we have a vaccine. We are in the beginning stages of living with a virus that has killed more than 105 thousand people in the United States….And it has not taken a holiday!
The opening back up of facilities is complex. For business owners or those who are responsible for the safety and welfare of those who use their facilities…the burden is heavy. To say that we are in a new world…is an understatement! When a facility is reopened…the management is implicitly stating that they have done all that is possible to ensure the safety of their users or customers. To believe that a good faith effort or take comfort in the fact that your insurance agent tells you that you are covered…would be naive if you have not personally verified that the health and safety requirements are fulfilled…and that being on a daily…and perhaps hourly basis. Nothing about our 2020 pandemic is easy!
During my carer at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale we maintained 4 child care facilities. I was either the assistant superintendent or superintendent of the operation for the majority of my time with the university. Although we maintained over 200 buildings…I considered the 4 childcare facilities that we were responsible for…at the top of my list for my personal attention. We had detailed plans for pandemic custodial maintenance in preparation for SARS. We regularly had all PPE equipment including HEPA vacuums for the purpose of the cleaning that is required for a university setting and the crucial care of our children…
I am happy to see our region beginning to return to some sense of normalcy. We have to start somewhere. But, we must not forget where we have been…and where we could return!