By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was January 21. In the five short months since, our lives have changed tremendously.
In the beginning, it seemed many were somewhat accepting of what was viewed as a “temporary” disruption to our lives. But as the months have ticked by, temperaments have become much less accepting. That’s understandable, due to the significant losses people are experiencing.
It isn’t fair that high school seniors missed their last few months of school, including prom, spring sports and a traditional graduation celebration.
It isn’t fair that some businesses are forced to be closed completely or operate under tight restrictions while others are not only open but are flourishing.
It isn’t fair that some people are doing quite well financially with stimulus payments and increased unemployment benefits while others are falling through the cracks with no income.
It isn’t fair that some places require you to wear a mask when you enter and it isn’t fair that others don’t require everyone to wear a mask.
It isn’t fair that some businesses and organizations qualify for government programs while others don’t.
It isn’t fair that 4-H’ers won’t have an opportunity to participate in the fair this year and that concession vendors are losing their major source of income.
It isn’t fair that some people lost their jobs.
There are a lot of things that simply aren’t fair about COVID-19. And, there are always many sides to an issue and everyone is looking at the issue through a different lens. Business owners, government officials, health officials, employers, employees, families, school officials… everyone has a different viewpoint, because this issue truly does impact everyone in one way or another.
Here are other viewpoints on how COVID-19 has been unfair:
It isn’t fair that health care workers have to put their lives in danger every day and then risk exposing their loved ones, or quarantining away from their loved ones to protect them.
It isn’t fair that some people die from this virus while others don’t show any symptoms at all.
It isn’t fair that people can’t be there to hold loved ones who are sick and scared.
It isn’t fair that people are quarantined far from home in unknown surroundings.
It isn’t fair that people can’t grieve loss by undergoing the rituals of a funeral.
It isn’t fair that some businesses aren’t going to make it through this.
Nothing about this pandemic is fair. It’s also unfortunate that this is a learn-as-you-go situation for everyone involved, and there is no guidebook.
We need to keep repeating the statement that has become so common worldwide: “We are all in this together.” It has been incredible to watch a spirit of togetherness spreading around the world, and to find that the silver lining of a pandemic could be unity.
However, it isn’t difficult to see that that silver lining can quickly be ripped to shreds with accusations, anger and fear. We can’t control what is happening. We can only control how we personally react.
“It’s unfair that I lost out on my senior year of baseball, but I made memories with my family that I will treasure forever.”
“It’s unfair that my business is hurting while others are thriving, but people have gone out of their way to show their support, and I trust they will be there for us all the way through recovery.”
It’s also amazing how impactful changing “I” statements to “we” statements can be.
“This has been hard on all of us… many of our businesses are hurting… many of us are out of work… are struggling financially… are missing out on important events...”
We are all in this together – and in the end, we can look back and celebrate that a pandemic brought unity to our world, or… we can blame it for dividing us even further.