The News Editorial: Open for business
April 30, 2020
It’s been a busy week since last Tuesday both in the state and in Worland and Washakie County.
Here are some highlights:
•On Tuesday, April 28, Washakie County had zero active COVID-19 cases. That’s right. According to the Wyoming Department of Health, all five lab-confirmed cases have recovered and all three probable cases are listed as recovered.
However, also on April 28, Washakie County Public Health announced that there was more tests available and County Health Officer Dr. Ed Zimmerman was asking residents if they are COVID-19 symptomatic that they should call their health care provider to be tested.
More testing could mean more positive cases in Washakie County but there is no reason to panic.
Zimmerman also said that any potential second wave might not be as bad as the first wave, because providers are prepared, there is testing and we know what precautions to take.
•Speaking of precautions, the governor and the state health officer extended the health orders through May 15 with some modifications. Personal care services such as nail and hair salons, barber shops, and gyms, can re-open with specific guidelines in place. Restaurants can have up to five customers come in to their place of business to pick-up orders. Dine-in services are still prohibited.
The opening of the personal service businesses and gyms is good news because these are a few of the only businesses who have been ordered to shut down completely in Wyoming, along with museums, concert halls and theaters. However, theaters have been able to provide curbside delivery of snack foods.
All around the country, including here in our community people have been encouraging people to shop local and support the restaurants. Governor Mark Gordon said he and his wife have tried to eat out quite often to show their support.
He also said in his press conference Tuesday that they have had “virtual” haircuts, meaning they went ahead and paid the stylists or barber the same as they would had they been able to have their appointment.
He didn’t take lightly the orders he made and he let the businesses in his community know that with his actions.
•There has apparently been confusion in many communities in Wyoming wondering why some businesses have closed and others have not. Governor Gordon emphasized in Tuesday’s press conference that he did not issue a stay-at-home order. There was no order shutting down “non-essential businesses” as there were in many states. In none of the orders issued by the state were “essential businesses” defined.
So to be clear, with no official stay-at-home order, no business should be shamed because they stayed open.
And in talking about COVID-19 shaming, no business should be shamed for wanting to open up again as soon as possible.
Small businesses, especially in small towns in Wyoming, are usually owned by a single person or family. Anyone self-employed then knows if you are not working, you are not getting paid.
Being closed is extremely hard on these small businesses.
As businesses work to open up again they ALL need our support.
No one wants anyone to get sick. No one wants anyone to die. No one wants to see another business close. Businesses will continue to follow recommended guidelines, more than likely, for quite some time.
The COVID-19 shaming, however, doesn’t end with businesses. There have been personal COVID-19 shaming attacks as well. Some people have become critical of others who are not wearing masks.
Yes masks are recommended and encouraged but it is not a mandate or requirement. Yes, they may help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it’s really a person’s right to choose.
As Wyoming and the country begin to loosen restrictions and larger gatherings are allowed we need to remember to be kind to one another, be patient with one another and support one another. Support that small business who has struggled and fought to stay in business during these five weeks, support that person in line at the store who is not wearing a mask although you are, support that person in the store who is wearing a mask although you chose not to wear one.
Last week we noted that it didn’t seem that #weareallinthistogether. In truth not everyone is on the same page in how to battle this pandemic.
But, truthfully, we really are all in this together. We are one community, one state, one country, one world. We need to support one another, encourage one another.
So how do we get through this pandemic you ask? Together.