Our View: Follow COVID Rules Like Your Livelihood Depends On It

Opinion

We get it, the messaging is getting a bit tedious. Wash your hands, maintain social distancing, stay home when you’re feeling ill, wear a mask. Three months into the pandemic, we’re so numb to those instructions that you could almost forget that they’re there to save our lives.

So think about this. Following those rules might inoculate your checkbook.

Given that so many local businesses rely on 10 weeks of summer to help them survive the other 42 weeks of the year, it’s critical to the local economy that we salvage as much of this summer as possible. That means keeping each phase of Gov. Baker’s reopening plan no longer than three weeks. And there’s a key goal in mind: Phase 2.

Under this schedule, it could be possible for restaurants, lodging establishments and retailers to reopen under Phase 2 as early as June 8. For the Cape’s visitor economy, that’s when things will really start happening. Like local merchants, we don’t expect this summer’s revenues to be anything like normal, but we know that the longer Phase 2 is delayed, the more local families will be hurting economically.

Quite rightly, Gov. Baker won’t give a green light for Phase 2 if public health statistics show signs that the virus is returning. And to keep that from happening, we all have to take responsibility for following the rules, like wearing masks in downtown Chatham, as ordered by the board of health.

We understand the frustration that drove one local business to open in defiance of state rules last week, but that decision was reckless and unfair. Not following the rules jeopardizes our collective health, literally and financially. Set aside for a moment the staggering toll COVID-19 has taken on individuals and families. Our best chance of surviving the pandemic’s economic fallout is to follow the rules.

So wash your hands and put on your mask already.