Reopening Jitters & Human Concerns

Safely resuming our lives and businesses

“In the days to come it will be especially important to care in practical ways for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed. Finally, let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants; we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together and we are determined to rise.” – former President George W. Bush

This week, we began the process of reopening our economy and our society. Baby steps at first are required before we can get to any semblance of our former lives. President Bush’s words offer comfort and hope as we face an uncertain future.

Social media posts run the gamut from “this is way too much way too soon” to “this coronavirus is a hoax.” Amateur epidemiologists have sprouted like mushrooms after a rainstorm in a cow pasture. The truth is we don’t know what the future holds. It could be anything from the curve flattening with decreasing cases to a second wave of infections to a cure being found. Each of these scenarios is absolutely possible. There’s no way of knowing for sure which one (or combination thereof) will come to pass. The one thing we can do is just be kind to each other.

Many will feel elated at the prospect of dining out at their favorite restaurants. And that’s a good thing. Keep in mind a few things: 1) Restaurants can only operate at 25% capacity (except for outdoor seating at socially appropriate distances); 2) Because of that, your favorite restaurant’s revenue stream is far from what they usually expect. But so many of them have provided take-out options during the last several weeks, and it’s good that servers get back to a little work as well. If you can, please patronize local restaurants, and leave amazing tips to take care of servers who have been out of work for so long.

A resource for finding which restaurants are open for dine-in/take-out/delivery can be found at www.keysweekly.com.

It’s really good to be able to go back to our parks and beaches as well. Again, following social distancing rules is essential if these are to remain open. Miami-Dade County opened their marinas — temporarily, as it turned out. Excess demand and long lines forced them to close just hours after they were reopened. And if people abuse the rules, then parks, beaches and restaurants could be shut down again.

If you or a member of your family is immuno-compromised, elderly, or has underlying health conditions, it may be better to stay at home. 

One of the main reasons we didn’t become a COVID-19 hotspot, unlike the three counties to our north, is that we did practice social distancing and followed the guidelines put forth by the state and federal governments. The presence of the checkpoint also helped, thanks to the sheriff and local governments. With our limited hospital beds and health care system, we easily could have been stressed beyond local capacity. Thankfully, that did not happen!

And that brings me back to the former president’s words. We do indeed rise or fall together. We are all in this together. And we are determined to rise.

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I would like to offer my thanks to all who have “attended” my Friday evening Facebook Live Concerts! The videos of the first six are still on my Facebook page, and I’m still doing a new concert each Friday until this passes. Anywhere from 800 to 2,800 people have viewed each of these shows, and I’m (re) connecting with friends from all over. It’s been such a cool thing, and I’m probably going to find a way to keep up the Facebook Live Concerts even after we get back to normal. 

This Friday’s show streams live at 7:30 p.m. from my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/john.bartus. For this week’s show, I’ll be playing mostly my original songs … along with a few choice covers. Hope you tune in, and “see” you this Friday!

— Catch John Fridays at his Social Distancing Concerts on Facebook Live. Music available on CDBaby.com and iTunes, and wherever you get your streaming music.  www.facebook.com/john.bartus

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