With the spirit of Fort Bend guiding us in matters that benefit the community, the first phase to “open Texas” from Gov. Greg Abbott’s strike force has begun. The visible community sentiment makes it feel like we could be closer to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic and this may turn out to be the transition month. The state’s restart plan impacts work, school, entertainment and culture.
But although it may feel like things are tapering off, we can’t be too sure. So it will be important to continue to maintain our best practices – social distancing and the recommended use of cloth masks. A national coronavirus task force coordinator emphasized the need for people with preexisting medical conditions to continue to shelter in place during these early reopening phases of our society.
Social distancing and use of a cloth mask are both quite evident here. But we’ve also seen some people in public not wearing masks. Their use, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helps slow the spread of the virus from those who may unknowingly have it.
Last week, a Fort Bend County resident not wearing a cloth mask said he was not allowed in a grocery store on State Highway 6 in Sugar Land. The man, who said he was tested for COVID-19 and did not have it, went elsewhere. You can’t help but see this situation from both sides – rights and responsibilities that apply to both individuals and businesses as well. What’s important is that we want to make sure that we aren’t risking our health or the health of others when we go out.
Lately for me, it’s felt lonely out in public. This has probably been a shared experience. With the cloth mask taking center stage of your persona, there’s been little to no eye contact or talking. And when you or others speak, it’s been muffled.
But on the positive side, I am now more aware of human noise and I love it! There are more cars on the streets and in parking lots today, more people out and about in neighborhoods, grocery stores and other operating retail establishments albeit some lined up 6 feet apart before they are allowed to go in. This is in conformance with a 25 percent occupancy limit for reopening businesses according to Abbott’s latest executive order. Phase one of three began last Friday.
There’s excitement about the First Colony Mall reportedly opening this week. The food court, however, will have to stay closed. We’re all looking for a substantial economic rebound. Some say this could turn out to be the greatest growth in economic history.
In video messages, Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman has been staying in touch with residents periodically and homeowners associations are to be commended for passing on the updates, the latest a response to opening up for business.
No doubt, we’re on our way. No, not back to the future, unless it’s to make adjustments that include correcting off-track global supply chains. And no, not to a future with a government in full charge of our lives as some vociferous people are dreading as a consequence of the pandemic.
In Fort Bend, we have changed permanently along with so many others throughout the world. Because we embrace our patriotism in Fort Bend, we will continue with a love, respect and support of our community. I believe that on the national scene we will break away from political and cultural opposites, which are not as evident locally. And we make way toward solidarity and functionality. We live in a society that fosters the competition of ideas.
We’ve been known to do the impossible and we’re staring at another challenge to do it again.