Record editorial: Caution remains the watchword even amid positive progress in pandemic response
So this is what life in our county looks like — at least for now.
On Friday, Summit County officials enacted a new public health order, lifting the stay-at-home mandate but replacing it with a host of other measures meant to ensure the reopening of the local economy doesn’t inadvertently cause a second spike in coronavirus cases.
Residents, the order said, should still remain at home as much as possible, even continuing to work remotely when they can. Businesses of all kinds must comply with a range of restrictions that require social distancing and enhanced sanitization. And Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough made clear that it’s still inappropriate for tourists to visit.
Is it anything like the way things were before the pandemic? Not even close.
Is it positive progress, though there remains understandable concern among some that the health risks of loosening the restrictions outweigh the economic reward of starting to breathe life back into the economy. Even as most businesses were allowed to reopen Friday, it seemed likely that residents would take a dip-the-toe approach rather than immediately seizing the opportunity to patronize local shops and have dinner at restaurants.
That’s a prudent approach, given that it’s too early to know with precision what the health ramifications will be of moving into the stabilization phase of the pandemic response. County health officials have said it is safe to do so but have also been clear that the stay-at-home mandate could be reinstated if residents and businesses ignore the restrictions in an attempt to return to normalcy too quickly.
Parkites should harbor no illusions about what is at stake. The only way to ensure the reopening is successful is to be diligent about following the requirements the county has mandated, as disruptive as some of them may be.
As long as the coronavirus remains a threat, caution will be the watchword. Proceeding slowly is the only way to get the economy churning again without putting people’s lives at risk.
Normal? If residents have learned anything over the last month and a half, it’s that there’s no such thing right now. There won’t be for the foreseeable future. But can we adapt and learn to live with the new restrictions? No doubt.
And in any case, until the pandemic is over and the health of residents is no longer at risk, we don’t have much choice.
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