Applause for everyone who did what it took to take care of everyone in their community. Thanks to masks, social distancing, staying/working/learning from home, and sacrifices Island County reached Phase Two in the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. That’s Phase Two out of four phases, but the progress is impressive and welcome. Island County is beginning to re-open based on data, a feat too few places have accomplished.
Life is not back to “normal”, that’s a few phases from now, if our defenses remain vigilant. The list of instructions is so varied, precise, and extensive that it is easiest to visit the official list, then dig into each of your activities. (Safe Start) One thing many people are happy about is being able to get a haircut. Barbers and stylists are about to be very busy people with a lot of cutting and repairing to do. Just imagine the pounds people are about to lose.
One of the most assuring bits of data comes from the folks that volunteered to get tested.
“Over 2,500 individuals were tested during this initiative – Island County thanks our community members for a tremendous turnout and significant support. At this time, all results received for tests taken between May 12 and 18 have been negative. ” Island County Public Health
The number of cases and deaths is also dramatically reduced.
We’re in the middle of a balancing act. For many businesses, Memorial Day through Labor Day is their prime time, their window to make the profits that sustain their operations, and their paychecks. Phase Two helps, but the restrictions are restrictive. The typical tourists and visitors also may be held back by restrictions in their area. This will continue to be a tough time.
Whidbey changes. Islanders are resourceful, creative, and largely independent. Take-out and delivery are more common, now. Other innovations will probably find new ways for businesses to do business.
Washington State learned about the virus early, responded, and now is seen as an example to follow. As the nation and the world continue to fight the pandemic, this area is being seen as a haven of sorts. There are already anecdotal reports of people moving here to get away from worse situations. As if our natural environment wasn’t attractive enough for prolonged visits, now we’re also seen as an example of good governance and maybe a reason to move here, too.
Hopefully, we continue to progress. The disease may never be eliminated. That’s difficult with other diseases that have proven vaccines. (There’s always someone who is willing to let the disease live within them for personal reasons or lack of understanding.) But it is possible, as with those other diseases, to control it, contain it, and treat those who become infected.
The common caution is the (misnamed) Spanish Flu, where the second and then third waves were worse than the first. Since then, our understanding of the science has improved; so has our ability to communicate rapidly.
Each phase is designed to take at least three weeks. The Phase Two notice was posted a few days ago, so we have a few weeks before the earliest possibility of Phase Three. In the meantime, enjoy getting outside a bit more, maybe getting some shopping done; and good luck scheduling that hair cut for you and your pet. There might be a bit of a line (with appropriate distancing, of course.)