November 21, 2020
I can’t imagine how difficult it’s been to operate a restaurant with periodic closures during 2020. At times, I expect the challenges of covering expenses, keeping staff employed, and maintaining customers have seemed impossible.
This morning, I read about a protest at Jimmy’s Roadhouse in Newaygo. Hundreds of people gathered there to defy the Michigan Department of HHS order to close indoor dining again. Pictures and videos of the event showed the majority of people physically close and not wearing masks.
My initial reaction to the protest was anger. This turned to frustration. Then, I felt sad about the apparent disregard for what we need to fight the virus together.
I don’t like to voice my opinion in a public forum or encourage conflict. However, based on the potential impact of this protest, I want to speak up. In the words of Albert Einstein, “If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.”
Michigan added 9,779 new COVID cases on November 20, the most in a single day since the start of the pandemic. West Michigan health system officials have warned hospitals are reaching capacity and staff is being pushed to their limits. In Newaygo County, total cumulative cases have increased almost 240% in the past month (from 539 to 1,286).
I think it’s important to remember the virus is our enemy. We must stand together in this war. This is not a political battle or a threat to our personal freedoms. Science is providing facts to help us fight the virus. Organizations are gathering data to communicate the crisis our community is facing.
What happened to the Golden Rule of “treating others as you want to be treated”? What happened to treating people with respect? What happened to being concerned about the health and well being of others?
Everywhere I go, I see reminders to wear a mask, wash my hands, and stay physically distant. I can’t control the behaviors of the people who protested at Jimmy’s Roadhouse on Friday night. However, I can make different choices.
I will support local small businesses that are following State orders. I will do whatever I can to keep my family, friends, and community safe and healthy. I will be kind and considerate of others. I will stay physically distant…and wear a mask.
Be well, Cheryl McGrath
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