The clocks are springing forward, and coincidentally there seems to be a corresponding awakening of our way of life as we reach the one-year milestone of the nationwide shutdowns thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
My calendar reflects a growing sea change in people’s attitudes towards in-person meetings and events. While Zoom and other virtual meeting methods remains the most popular option, the number of people requesting face to face meetings has increased quite a bit in recent days. Please don’t be offended if I don’t always say “yes” – at the Chamber we are respectful of state guidance and our policy remains to defer to the Zoom option if it is reasonable to do so.
Now certainly isn’t the time to get reckless, but it is understandable that people are ready to start branching out, begin meeting with others and socialize in a more normal manner where safe and prudent to do so.
And to be sure a lot of people aren’t acting “safe and prudent” – stories of “unmasking” parties at Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale are making the news as of this writing. But at the same time, we have a conscientious society where most people want to get out of the COVID cocoon in a respectful and reasonable fashion. That seems to be what is driving the uptick in personal meeting requests and the restart of certain events.
Halfmoon is working on plans for a business event on May 1, for example. Area farmers markets will be starting on time, as will some fairs and festivals. At the same time, many venues have cancelled their slate of events for the year, and the fate of regional staples like the Waterford Canal Festival remain in flux.
Don’t worry, we will definitely be putting on a top-notch Canal Festival sooner or later, though this year’s version may be a bit truncated and combined with another local event later in the year.
The focus is on getting to where we need to be, safely and carefully. Restaurants are opening, but many of the social distancing rules remain in place and will surely impact the dining experience for months into the future. Still, the opportunity to get out and enjoy your favorite restaurant or watering hole will surely be very welcome, especially after a chilly winter and a year of stifling COVID-induced restrictions.
As always, we remember those that have been tragically lost to this terrible disease, and the sacrifice of the professionals who have toiled to keep us safe. It’s thanks to their efforts that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!.