Who would have thought 2020 would look like it does today? But each day, we’re a step closer to a better life.
I, too, like many hopeful others, think we will have a tremendous rebound as more aggressive measures take root at impacting the worldwide havoc caused by the new coronavirus. We will find solutions and they will be our own. They will be community-specific with a united focus on protecting lives and restoring livelihoods.
As part of last week’s executive order, we’ve been given the OK from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen retail businesses starting this Friday. This will be guided by the governor’s “Strike Force to Open Texas,” a team of medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise Abbott on logistics, particularly safety and strategy, for reopening. One of the three medical advisers is Dr. John Zerwas, executive vice chancellor for health affairs for the University of Texas system. Zerwas left his Texas House District 28 elected office last September to accept the appointment with the UT system after having served the Fort Bend County area for 12 years.
In doing things the Texas way, the first step toward restoring the economy involves initiating what is called “retail to-go” businesses. These will be businesses that were forced to close under the county’s stay-at-home order that can resume operations while mitigating the threat of spreading COVID-19. A Sugar Land Town Square business owner with a shop very close to the plaza said she intends to do it this week. She plans to have walk-up pick-ups outside her store “like the restaurant food pick-ups,” she said, “but with no tent set up in front.
For about a month now, her shop in the previously vibrant, full-of-life area has been locked up among the others in the city’s prime shopping center. It started looking abandoned, frozen in time like from a scene of the science-fiction movie, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Perhaps that old movie’s message has some relevance here. It was about a choice to be made that would affect the entire human race – living in peace or the not-so-wise alternative of pursing the present course, for which the outcome is not a good one.
We’ve been at a standstill and had time to contemplate. I personally feel like we missed Easter, the celebration of anniversaries, birthdays, even my own, and more. But not all of our moving parts have stood still. For jobless aid, just a couple of weeks ago federal legislation sent direct payments to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000. My daughter-in-law called it “Trump bucks.” There was more to the coronavirus relief package, but more needed, some say. It’s been a stop-gap measure. Doing nothing, on the other hand, as opposed to doing what you can under the circumstances is not a bad thing.
But our current state of affairs on the world scene and even nationally is combative at a time when we all need to come together…all of us: worldwide. So, what seems to be the problem? We’re told that crises can provoke extreme responses. We also hear that the pandemic shows signs of reshaping the American political and social order for years to come. A re-do of Americanism?
I’m for improving, learning from lessons and, yes, it’s time to grow up. There’s so much at stake. For now, let’s use the data that will guide protocols for our local economy so that we can cautiously resume what we may have all taken for granted once upon a time in America.
When there are opportunities, participate in community discussions about emergency planning. Promote the importance of being proactive as we head into hurricane season this June. After all, we still have the freedom to talk about how things should be done. Keep in mind that social distancing guidelines are still in place and also the use of masks. We’ve been shocked, disoriented a bit. But we won’t fall. Together we’re on our way. Not back, but forward and in a smarter way.