Over the past eight weeks, we have seen a change in our world, unlike anything we have experienced before. We know this; we are all well aware. In challenging times the best, and sometimes the worst, comes out. It has been amazing to see the best. Disheartening to see the worst.
Fear and confusion have filled many days. But, amid the fear, Gary and I have bonded over hours of card play; navigated the somewhat broken unemployment insurance filing system; cooked, baked, canned, and jarred; opened (and finished) far too many bottles of wine. And, most importantly, we have celebrated the opportunity to live in a place where we feel safe, thanks to steps taken to protect us.
State “stay-in-place” orders have people questioning their rights, staging protests to demand their removal. Protestors are going against scientist recommendations, congregating together without masks, demanding their constitutional right to leave their house, and return to “normal.” Everything about this is confusing to me.
We are not going to go back to “normal” until a vaccine is found. Until then, we need to be smart to protect ourselves and to protect the ones you love. As we move forward, with states reopening, we need to keep this in mind. I saw a Twitter post from a restaurant owner in Texas saying they were reopening without the focus on social distancing or the use of face masks. She said that if you don’t want to exercise your rights as an American to be “free,” you can stay home. Thank you, I will.
I completely understand the state of our various hospitality industries, and that many of our restauranteur friends are struggling right now. However, it just feels like the actions to reopen are happening too quickly, without taking the proper time to open smartly, ensuring all of the people in the front and back of the house are protected.
The gallery where Gary and I work is reopening as well, on a limited basis, with a focus on growing our online presence. We are excited to have the opportunity to bring beautiful fine art into the homes of our clients, as beautiful things are needed to heal right now. But, we are also concerned over what Hawaii will look like when we can open our doors again. We live on an island that survives with tourism. Travel to Hawaii has been shuttered for the most part through the end of the month, at the earliest.
We look forward to guests returning, but we don’t know what it will look like when they do. Will we ever shake a hand or give a hug to an acquaintance again? (I am from the south; we hug everyone.) Will we feel comfortable welcoming visitors from around the world, not knowing what they have been exposed to, or from where they have come?
Bringing me back to the need to focus on the science and the data. Until we have a vaccine, we can’t expect the world to return to normal. Until we return to normal, we need to be aware that our actions affect more than just ourselves. Our actions can affect everyone we come into contact with, and those we don’t come into physical contact with as this virus spreads unlike any before.
We send you love and aloha from our Hawaii home. We give thanks to everyone who is working so hard to find a vaccine. We raise our glass to the workers on the front lines. Be kind. Hug your loved ones. Be grateful. Drink the good stuff.