We’re back on lockdown here in Washington state, with numbers of COVID cases climbing higher than they ever were last spring. It seems like the shutdown won’t be as bad this time; a lot of businesses that were closed altogether last spring are allowed to remain open at 25% capacity, and a lot of places are already set up to offer curbside pickup and alternative purchasing options. But it’s still a tough hit to places like restaurants that can only be open for outdoor dining and takeout, and gyms and movie theaters that can’t be open at all. It makes me worry for my friends who are back on unemployment again, and it makes me worry for all of the places we love that were already struggling this year. And although right now the lockdown is only supposed to last until December 14th, if a lot of people go against guidelines and have big family gatherings for Thanksgiving and the number of COVID cases doesn’t drop, I don’t feel confident at all that the date won’t be extended out.
I see people on social media saying that the lockdowns shouldn’t be happening because they hurt small businesses. Others counter that without the lockdowns we won’t be able to stop the spread of the virus. To me, it seems like we’re in a position where the lockdowns really are necessary, but I can’t help but feel resentful toward the people who resist wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines because I feel strongly that we wouldn’t be in this position now if everyone had taken recommended precautions. I also am aware of the reality that there are a lot of businesses that barely survived the first round of quarantine that may not be able to make it through this one, and that people who are back on unemployment are struggling both financially and emotionally. We’re in a tough spot with no easy answers…and it didn’t have to be this way.
I’ve been feeling beyond burned out and, pandemic aside, part of that I’m sure is because Bill and I haven’t had a full week off since August 2019. Since then, we’ve taken some long weekends but not a full week of vacation time. When we first started working from home last March, we delayed taking much time off because at the time we didn’t realize just how long life would be different due to the pandemic. Now we know that we won’t be traveling anywhere too far from home anytime soon, and the latest update we have from work is that we won’t be returning to the office until at least the end of June. And so, we decided to take next week off even though we can’t really go anywhere. I want to get started on my Christmas shopping, as I have vowed I’m spending money locally this year and not on Amazon, and we have some house projects we’d like to do. I’m hoping the time off helps us to feel refreshed.
I’m trying to hold on to hope. Hope for a COVID vaccine and a return to something resembling normal life, hope that our new US president will restore empathy and rationality to the country, hope that this is as bad as it gets.