[STAFF EDITORIAL] Honor social distancing protocols this summer

Keep+looking+for+alternative+options+for+social+time.+Set+up+a+Netflix+party+and+watch+something+together%3B+go+to+a+park+with+masks+and+stay+six+feet+apart.+

Noa Ní Aolán Gross

Keep looking for alternative options for social time. Set up a Netflix party and watch something together; go to a park with masks and stay six feet apart.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that the stay at home order in place since March would be allowed to expire May 18. Lifting the stay at home order begins the process of reopening. Retail stores may open at half their maximum occupancy so long as social distancing guidelines are followed. Gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted. Although regulations have been made less restrictive it is important to continue social distancing and limit exposure to others as there is still a long road ahead.
The virus has made life difficult for everyone. Students are stuck at home without their friends, athletic events, and seniors will not experience a traditional graduation experience. Exercise has never been limited, but with warmer weather, crowds may fill parks or public spaces more often, making following guidelines difficult. While it’s important to get fresh air and relax, it’s also important to do so while following social distancing guidelines and finding a balanced ratio of having fun and staying safe.

If the community works together to follow proper social distancing, stay at home, and face mask guidelines the number of cases and deaths could be significantly reduced.”

The CDC believes that the virus is “Thought to spread mainly from person-to-person” and that the best way to not catch the virus is to avoid any possible exposure. The best way to avoid exposure is to stay at home or in non-crowded places, it is also possible to reduce exposure by wearing a mask. It is best for the general public to wear cloth masks in an effort to save surgical masks, such as the N95, for people like medical professionals who face direct exposure and require greater protection. The unpredictability of this virus and its effects make it challenging to combat, especially when rules are not being followed. A recent model developed by The University of Minnesota School of Public Health and the Minnesota Department of Health suggests that a peak in cases is still yet to come towards the end of June through early July. The model suggests that by next March there will be a total of approximately 29,000 deaths as a result of the virus within the state of Minnesota alone. Of course, like any other model, these are not exact numbers but predictions based on facts and statistics. However, this model gives us a general understanding of just how bad this virus can get. If the community works together to follow proper social distancing, stay at home, and face mask guidelines the number of cases and deaths could be significantly reduced.

While it can be hard to not see friends, play sports, and have prom or graduation, one must keep in mind they are not the only ones being impacted.”

Stay at home rules have been put in place to stem infection and death. So while it can be hard to not see friends, play sports, and have prom or graduation, one must keep in mind they are not the only ones being impacted. By going out with friends, not properly social distancing, and gathering in large groups, one shows disrespect and entitlement; as it’s effectively undoing any progress made thus far. Not following social distancing guidelines and other state recommended procedures puts others at risk, specifically those with compromised immune systems, and even puts healthy people of all ages at risk as it could cause a heavy uptick in cases.

Keep looking for alternative options for social time. Set up a Netflix party and watch something together; go to a park with masks and stay six feet apart. Gather up to 10 friends and family to celebrate graduations and birthdays or put up yard signs or banners. While gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, it may not be the smartest idea. If 10 people were to gather one day then the next day each of those people went and met with another set of 10 people that would cause a much faster spread than the same 10 people meeting every day. Think before leaving home and consider the safest option to help slow the spread of this virus.

So while cautionary steps are being taken to relax restrictions and ease ourselves into a regular lifestyle once again, social distancing and stay-at-home values should not be forgotten. We are all in this together and want it to end as soon as possible. The only way to stop this virus is by working together as a community to keep each other in check in a non-judgmental but supportive manner and following the rules.