It is summer, the time for the main topics of island conversation to be gardening, fishing, playing on the beach, welcoming guests, and maybe complaining about a bit more traffic, noise, and confused tourists. (No, the island isn’t surrounded by a lake. That’s really salt water, it’s really part of the Pacific Ocean, and those really are whales, aircraft carriers, and cruise ships – though maybe not cruise ships this year.) Those are still things to talk about, but each is also dealing with masks, gloves, distancing, and where’s a good place to get food. Corona virus, Covid-19, continues to be an issue.
We were so close, it was easy to relax.
The confirmed cases became scattered blips on a chart. But, as many other tourist areas have seen, even if most are masking up and taking care, it’s too easy for others to assume the crisis is over. Not yet.
Island County remains in Phase 3 of 4, but a recent reversal in the trends means it is more like Phase 3 Lite. Not quite a retreat to Phase 2, but we’ve edged back away from the eagerly anticipated Phase 4. Island County is a series of islands geographically, but it is also an island medically. We are in Phase 3-ish, but the island is surrounded by places that are Phase 2. Fortunately, some of those are being extra-cautious. They could apply for Phase 3, but decided to wait. It also means anyone traveling to or from the island passes through Phase 2 territory. We can breathe some relief (and no, masks don’t interfere with that), but we get to remain cautious, too.
We’re also fortunate because Washington State is making progress. As a state, we were making good progress from our peak in April through June; but the rise began as summer officially opened. The good news is that the curve appears to have flattened and turned down again as the new restrictions were observed.
Unfortunately, the totals for the US are rising again, exceeding the losses from many of our wars. Hopefully, the trends will be reversed (and lives will be saved.)
The back and forth progress is partly why it is best to double check with businesses and parks and such. Some policies and procedures have shifted. Some are getting around to it. Some may not know the latest – something that is difficult to do.
Whatever the official policies are, the island is certainly busy. Traffic is up. Many restaurants have found ways to cope at least temporarily. It is summer. Outdoor dining is nothing new. Maybe there will be more picnics than dine-ins, but considering the island’s setting, that might not be so bad.
The other fortunate thing is that the health community now knows more about what we need to do. Wear a mask, easy enough, especially for anyone who has worked in jobs that required full rigs. A bit of cloth or paper on elastic? Easy in comparison. Washing hands. Was that ever not a thing? If so, ugh. And social distancing. Yeah, that’s a tough one, especially for gregarious extroverts who want to gather in the sunshine. But, we got close to controlling this months ago when we didn’t know as much as we do now. Now, it should be easier to beat the virus. We certainly have enough to look forward to. Some day, dancing in the streets will return.