UNITED STATES─I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I am slightly concerned with people letting their guard down during this pandemic with the ruse that all is ok and we can return back to normal. I wish that was the truth, but it is not. Things will never return to the norm, at least not for the time being people. So exactly what does this mean?

I expected the Fourth of July to be the first holiday where many Americans started to test out the opportunity to celebrate, and oh, did we see it all throughout the country with pool parties and BBQ’s where people were not maintaining proper social distancing, wearing masks and not being in massive crowds. However, to each is their own and some people are going to do what they please no matter what the health experts and the leaders of our country say.

With that said, I’ve started to take really small baby steps and perhaps one of the biggest was dining in at a restaurant. This was something I was super hesitant to do because to me with the rise in COVID-19 cases it just concerned me greatly. I mean how are you able to stay safe and dine at the same time. You cannot wear a mask if you’re eating? One thing that I noticed was the cleanliness of the restaurant that I attended. There were NOT a ton of patrons so that made me feel a bit relieved as I wasn’t as concerned about a massive horde of people.

The restaurant handed out paper menus which we were able to keep. The booths and tables were well distanced between patrons and the staff and waiters were wearing masks and gloves during the entire duration inside the establishment. The food was great; the service was perhaps some of the best I have received in years. I don’t think it was a direct result of the pandemic, but the fact that this restaurant has always delivered top tier service to its patrons.

Does this mean I plan to dine out more? Not necessarily because I still have reservations about the virus and just being in closed quarters and potentially exposed to those who are asymptomatic with COVID-19. I will admit it has been nice to visit the mall once again, but maintaining a level of social distancing. Now, I’m used to waiting in a line, but it seems now, customers are waiting in lines to get into almost all stores. As a result, the shopping experience has completely changed in my mind. You’re waiting a bit longer than normal which has also made the shopping experience a bit more frustrating, but also testing your patience at the same time.

I am glad that retailers are maintaining that level of social distancing and encouraging its patrons to follow those guidelines as well. Yes, I am seeing plenty of people heed the warning fully, but there are plenty who are still ignoring those things and I don’t know what to say. Some people think because things have opened that it’s ok to just go back to life as it was. Sorry, things will never be the same America and if you’re not heeding the advice, you could fall into the category of being one who contracts COVID-19 or passes the deadly virus to a susceptible family member.

Trust me, I hate wearing a mask, especially during the summer months where it is hot, humid and just plain uncomfortable. However, these are the times we live in. I’m desperate to go to an amusement park, but with the way things are that just are not possible in the foreseeable future. I am glad some governments are looking at numbers and making decisions based on the situation of the now, and not where we want to be.

I rather neutralize a problem NOW, instead of seeing something like this fester into the fall months and the holidays where we are all hoping to spend with family and friends. Things could be far worse, its unlike anything I have EVER seen in my lifetime, so either we do what we’re being asked to do or suffer the consequences that could be more impactful than we imagine.