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Keep an eye on the direction we take

The state’s are beginning to ease off of the restrictions put in place in their efforts to “flatten the curve” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has, no doubt, been a difficult couple of months for many of us. Businesses have been closed, people have not been working and much of what we are used to seeing as “normal” has been nonexistent.

For better or worse, things are being turned around at the discretion of our state governments, with businesses and services reopening in an effort to get the economy back in gear.

There is definitely excitement as people are getting back to work, although there also is the realization that some may not be as fortunate at this time. Just because a business was doing fine before all of this started, doesn’t mean they will be in a good place now. They might not be able to bring everyone back. Some may not be able to reopen at all. Those businesses which have remained open may still be looking at cuts as they look to survive.

But, now we are turning that corner and trying to get back to “normal,” whatever that may mean.

Where our area will have difficulties is the differences between our surrounding states.

Ohio has a similar setup, with a weekly schedule for the entire state. For the most part, it appears plans for various businesses are at about the same time, or possibly a week apart between West Virginia and the Buckeye State.

Pennsylvania is doing things differently, though. Where West Virginia and Ohio are making decisions for everything at a particular interval to open statewide, Pennsylvania has been both enacting and easing restrictings more on a county-by-county basis.

Much of western Pennsylvania, for example, has now been moved to the “yellow” phase of reopening, while most of eastern Pennsylvania remains in the “red” phase.

So, we may find that a certain type of business is open in West Virginia, but not yet in our neighboring states. There also will be different limits on crowd size, and some places are requiring masks be worn whenever you go out into public.

Our “reopening” has really just gotten under way. In truth, we don’t know how it is going to be. We know there is a schedule, although that already has created some confusion as to what is considered under what category, as well as how the schedule was determined.

There seems to be a lot of outdoor activity and tourism related businesses opening up quickly, while others still must wait.

The caveat has been that the state is watching the percentage of positive cases compared to the number of tests given. If it rises above a certain threshold, the openings will be eased back. In fact, such actions already have been taken in other parts of the country, where they are warning it could still take several months, as opposed to our six weeks or so.

This is still a new situation for many of us. We don’t fully understand the aspects of this virus, and we weren’t prepared to tackle it. Let’s forget about the political bickering, though, because what is important is how we as a people handle things from here on out.

We need to take better care of ourselves, truly make an effort to learn about what is going on in the world around us, and once our businesses do reopen, we need to make every effort to patronize them as much as possible.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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