Some States Are Re-Opening, But Let's Not Get F*cking Carried Away

I Don’t Care If Things Are Re-Opening — You’re Not Supposed To Go Rogue

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My son asked if he could go to the beach to hang out with friends, then go to one of their homes for a bonfire last weekend. When I told him it was a hard no, he assured me it was fine because our state has reopened. 

I gave him the example of recovering from food poisoning, then going right back to the same restaurant because he was feeling somewhat better. “That would be a bad idea, right? And it probably wouldn’t even appeal to you. It’s kind of like that. Only a million times more serious, and it affects more people than just you. So again, my answer is no.”

He wasn’t happy with me, of course. But having your teenage son hate you for a few weeks (or months) because you are trying to protect him (and everyone around him) is a small price to pay.

As all 50 states begin to reopen, it can feel hopeful and scary at the same time. We are all looking for normalcy and comfort. We all want to be safe.

I’m missing so many things, but I especially miss eating out at a restaurant. When I see all of my favorite places allowing people to dine-in now, I feel a pull to sit in the air conditioning and order nachos while the soda refills flow. But I don’t feel right about doing that right now. 

I know we all want nothing more than to invite everyone we know to our house for a big bash and clink our glasses together while thinking this is all over. 

But, reopening doesn’t mean things are going back to normal and that it’s a race to go do all the things. That is a one-way-ticket back to lockdown, folks.

NPR reports,Public health experts have warned that in many cases, states are easing restrictions despite not meeting all of the criteria to do so.”

When I read a statement like that, it tells me I simply can’t trust the guidelines every time there are new ones put in place —  I have to trust my gut. And right now, my gut is telling me to stand back, keep my kids at home, and see how this first round of opening up a few more non-essential businesses goes before we venture out more. 

Barbara Ferrer, the director of public health for Los Angeles County says it’s still not time, and is not “recommending at this point in time that people should be in social units together.” 

I’ll take the advice of a public health director over the state saying it’s reopening any day. And it’s my job to set that example and explain it to my kids as well.

This doesn’t mean you can never attend or host gatherings. It means to avoid crowds as much as possible.  This virus is incredibly contagious and it will only take one trip to a restaurant or gym to spread it to many — whether you feel even remotely ill or not. There are literally people who carry the virus but have zero symptoms, so they continue to go about their business and end up infecting anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path.

I Don't Care If Things Are Re-Opening -- You're Not Supposed To Go Rogue
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We need to calm down with the play dates and get-togethers and the massive parties on the beach. Case in point: Surprising no one, a Lake of the Ozarks Memorial Day party-goer, recently tested positive for COVID-19. Exactly what everyone was afraid of happening, and exactly why intelligent, science-minded folks have been worried about their states re-opening.

Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine told the New York Times, “There will be states that open too soon, or states that are too conservative. It is hard to thread the needle.”

The article goes on to say that “Some epidemiologists see warning signs of a rebound, especially in the South, and because it can take as long as three weeks for a newly infected person to become sick enough to go to the hospital, the impact of reopening is unlikely to be detectable immediately.”

Again, I’ll trust the experts’ words here. Seeing my friends and eating inside a restaurant are two of my favorite things. But, we’ve been socially distancing for over two months now. We have Zoom calls, texting, and many places offer curbside pickup so you can eat in your car and get out for a bit while supporting a local business.

We can live out social distancing longer if it means the world will go back to normal faster. And more lives will be saved. 

It’s difficult, and my kids don’t understand why I’m not willing to take their friends’ word for it that they haven’t seen anyone else, so it should be safe for them to hang out with my child. 

It’s a no-brainer to me: Veer on the side of being conservative when there are lives on the line. I’m not understanding why people are going full-bore here with all of their non-essential tasks and activities. It’s a slap in the face to the folks who have died, and the healthcare workers still working around the clock to provide for hospitalized cases. 

The other day, a friend of mine said, “Yeah, I’m over social distancing. I don’t want to wear a mask or stay at home this summer. But, it beats lying in a hospital bed with a long recovery, or losing someone I love dearly.”

He was exactly right– there is a broader picture here than just getting back out there and resuming back to our life in the way we used to. So let’s not be selfish assholes and go totally rogue here.

If you simply must get out and see people, or are thinking about throwing your child a birthday party, the Los Angeles Times provides a good summary of the risks for different scenarios, so you can (hopefully) make the most educated choice for your family.

So, take the reopening with a grain of salt. There are going to be bumps in the road, but we can lessen those by not living our pre-COVID-19 lives just yet.