You know those commercials that just stick with you and you still remember them to this day, even though you first saw them over 20 years ago. Commercials like Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?”, Got Milk’s “Aaron Burr”, or Tootsie Pop’s “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?” One of those commercials for me was Mervyn’s “Open, Open, Open.” I was thinking about this commercial right before I heard Governor Newsom’s press conference yesterday as he officially announced that he was lifting almost all of our current COVID-related restrictions. With that announcement, the rules and the way we have lived for the past 16 months, will come to an end.
Now… this does not mean that COVID is completely gone and there is nothing really to worry about any longer. In actuality… it is the exact opposite. During his remarks yesterday, Governor Newsom reminded us that “We're not done. This is not spiking the football tomorrow. It's not mission accomplished tomorrow. This virus is not going away tomorrow. This pandemic is not behind us tomorrow. We're very mindful that already in 2021 globally more people have lost their lives to COVID than the entire year 2020.”
Even though the restrictions are now lifted, I know for a fact that there will be a lot of people who will be apprehensive of trying to return to life as they knew it pre-COVID. It is going to be extremely hard to get over the fear and trepidation, especially the first few times of being surrounded by people they don’t know.
Although many of us are vaccinated, there are still people out there that are not able to receive the shot, either because of health reasons or they’re kids and they are not eligible yet, or they are choosing not to get it. As a result, we still need to be vigilant and careful, specifically for this group.
And what about our masks… now that the mandate is lifted, are people going to be comfortable not wearing them even though they are vaccinated? Having stopped in at a store before coming into work today, I saw a number of people still wearing them. Obviously, there was no way to know if they had them on because they were not fully vaccinated or that their masks provided them a level of comfort that, at this point, they are not ready to take away. Either way, it is something we will need to get used to. Plus, since kids still need to wear their masks, you will probably see a number of parents still donning theirs in a show of support for their kids.
Today is a new day for all of us and we need to allow ourselves some time to get used to it and have faith and trust in those around us. It is my hope that they, along with each of us, will remain vigilant and responsible because after all, we need to remember that although the state is open again, we are still in the middle of a pandemic.