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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Home News Local news Reflections of an Evolving Elder: We Could Blow it Upon Soft Opening

Reflections of an Evolving Elder: We Could Blow it Upon Soft Opening

A St Thomas grocery store makes regulations clear.
A St. Thomas grocery store makes regulations clear.

Sunday morning’s COVID report* looks good, as it has all along. But this should not be mistaken for a pass to non-vigilance. In a community that has more than its share of scofflaws, that is a huge concern.

Sadly, there have been a plethora of people who thought nothing of gathering, drinking in close-knit groups at the bottom of Hull Bay Road, holding exercise classes at the beach, bringing their dogs to Magens and going barefaced into businesses where essential workers were putting their lives on the line to stock shelves. And that’s just a small picture of what I have personally observed.

And speaking of personally, I called an acquaintance in government Friday to make sure when the face mask edict was to go into place. He said, 6:01 a.m. Monday morning.

“But good luck enforcing it.”

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I replied, “Deputize me and give me a taser and I’ll be glad to help.”

We laughed.

It will be up to us as community members to support one another and not take the relative loosening of restrictions as a sign that we are in any way on safe ground.

We are not.

Shaun A. Pennington – 'I am smiling at you in case you can’t tell.'
Shaun A. Pennington – “I am smiling at you in case you can’t tell.”

Thank God Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has said clearly and forcefully that businesses not adhering to the guidelines as we gingerly make our way into scary, uncharted territory will be shut down.

But it is not the businesses I am worried about. Most of them I feel strongly are relieved to finally have an official opportunity to protect themselves from the idiots who don’t understand that face coverings are for the safety of “the other” not themselves.

Meanwhile, I go back to Jon Stewart’s admonition to shun those who care nothing for anyone else’s well-being or safety.

I am pretty sure that I can turn my eyes above the mask into taser-like beams of disapproval. I am equally hopeful that I can also turn them into a smile.

In fact, I have taken to saying to strangers who I meet as I open my car door next to theirs in a parking lot, or see others wearing face masks in the post office, “Good morning. I just want you to know I am smiling at you in case you can’t tell.”

We must all take a deep breath, think about what we have to lose if we screw this up and take seriously the meaning of civil obligation.

And pray.

*VITEMA: COVID-19 in the USVI by the Numbers: 1046 tested. 66 Positive. 951 Negative. 29 Pending. 51 Recovered. 4 Deaths

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