Tensions during reopening

Title

Tensions during reopening

Description

In recent weeks, Governor Tom Wolf has moved most counties in our region from the "red" phase of quarantine into the "yellow" phase, which means some of the more stringent restrictions are lifted.

One of the effects of this has been an almost daily experience of trying to sort out how and to what degree we resume "regular life."

Date

06-20-0006

Contributor

Aaron Cowan

Relation

SRU Faculty

Text

In recent weeks, Governor Tom Wolf has moved most counties in our region from the "red" phase of quarantine into the "yellow" phase, which means some of the more stringent restrictions are lifted.

One of the effects of this has been an almost daily experience of trying to sort out how and to what degree we resume "regular life." Even though the guidelines given by the state seem specific, there is so much gray area. For example, under "social restrictions" the guidelines say "Large Gatherings of More Than 25 Prohibited." Does this mean it's okay to have 3-4 friends over for a cookout, if we stay outside and maintain distance from one another?And 25 feels like an arbitrary number. What makes a gathering of 20 significantly safer than a gathering of 30? And how much have political pressures, like the highly-publicized reopening protests in state capitols, played into the decision to reopen?

This uncertainty also creates social tensions, as some people interpret the guidelines very loosely, while others feel it's best to be conservative in their approaches. These judgment calls become sources of potential conflict, or at least raised eyebrows and side glances. A trip to stores, in which everyone is required to wear masks, finds a number of shoppers with masks hanging under their chins or not covering their noses. Are they being openly defiant, or just careless? The dizzying array of online guides and Youtube videos about what to do (or not do) with groceries when bringing them into your home is almost laughable in their sheer number and their contradictory opinions. The situation is not helped by politicized disinformation that has led some people to doubt the virus's severity or even to delve into darker unfounded theories about conspiracies, etc.

In a strange way, I miss the early days of the "shelter in place" orders, when the general presumption was almost every part of daily life was canceled, and there seemed to be widespread consensus about what everyone was supposed to do.

Collection

Citation

Aaron Cowan, “Tensions during reopening,” Shared Voices, Shared Experiences: COVID-19 and the Slippery Rock Community, accessed September 25, 2020, http://slipperyrockcovid19.org/items/show/201.

Geolocation