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Brace yourself for reopening

Thank you, thank you, thank you — to all the front-line workers, residents, businesses and organizations assisting people who need it the most during this pandemic, volunteers cleaning up roadsides, our advertisers and readers — everyone who is making a difference these days.

We know the suffering will continue, for those who are sick with COVID-19, for their families and friends, for people who have lost jobs and small businesses that are barely hanging on.

We want to be brave and hope for the best, but we are preparing for the worst. Will there be a second wave of coronavirus? Will there be special events or attractions open this summer in the Adirondacks? When can we open our businesses? We simply don’t know, and that’s just as painful as the stay-at-home orders from the state. The waiting, the worrying, the bills piling up.

Yet it’s during these darkest times that our citizens are banding together to help each other out, and that’s uplifting.

But let’s not get careless as we wander outside and try to get some fresh air. Let’s remember what Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on May 5:

“How much is a human life worth? That’s the real discussion that no one is admitting openly or freely. But we should. … The faster we reopen, the lower the economic cost — but the higher the human cost, because the more lives lost. That, my friends, is the decision we are really making.”

We still have many questions after seeing the governor’s list of economic sectors set to phase in when the North Country reopens.

– Phase 1 includes construction, businesses in the manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, and select retail stores, which will do curbside pickup.

– Phase 2 includes professional services, finance and insurance, all retail, administrative support and real estate/rental leasing.

– Phase 3 includes restaurants and hotels.

– Phase 4 includes arts, entertainment, recreation and education.

We need more details as to other businesses, such as gyms, hair salons, yoga studios, etc.

June will be here soon, and we fear this will be the summer of the staycation rather than a traditional summer of hosting travelers. That will hurt business, especially when the above list doesn’t include staples of the tourism industry until phases 3 and 4. Even then, we can slip backward if the number of COVID-19 cases climbs.

We need to ask questions such as, “Will there be Ironman triathlons this year?” But we also need to ask, “Will there be a bobsled-skeleton World Championships in Lake Placid this coming February?” Or, “Will schools be able to open up in September?” We’re bracing ourselves with white knuckles while we wait for those answers.