Nowadays, spending time outside provides an interesting glimpse into how some Edina residents are dealing with the governor’s stay-at-home order. From toddlers to the elderly, getting outdoors has become an increasingly popular way to pass time. However, you’ll still find people adhering to social distancing guidelines— biking buddies pedal a good distance apart, dogs’ leashes are held on to tighter, and you can often find neighbors conversing (often louder than they need to) from driveways and sidewalks across the street. As the days go by, though, and as it seems that we’re closer to the end of this stay-at-home order (if it’s not extended), don’t get too eager to go out.
For the most part, Edina has been smart about COVID-19 and adhered to Governor Walz’s guidelines. “Non-essential” facilities like the renowned Edina Braemar complexes, playground structures at parks, hair salons, and dine-in restaurants have all been closed for a time; while some, like public parks and the Braemar golf course, have been allowed to re-open, these measures have gone a long way towards enforcing social-distancing. The Edina Public Schools, originally closed until May 4, have now been ordered to stay closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Times seem bleak and hard— but nevertheless, Edina persists, finding a little light in the community. Multi-colored paper hearts are being plastered to doors and windows (available at https://thethankustore.com) to thank mailmen, nurses, and grocery store employees, all of whom have been deemed “essential” workers. Car-parade birthday parties are becoming popular as gifts are left on the yard and cars strung with balloons and streamers drive by the recipient’s house. Good things are happening. Our community has come together during this time. Yet, there are still the exceptions, which are just as important to discuss, especially now that the end of the governor’s stay-at-home order, scheduled May 4, gets closer.
For example, car meet-ups have been deemed a smart and fun way to meet with friends. Four or five cars, all strung in a circle in some empty parking lot. It seems clever, but the fact is, these cars aren’t about to be thirteen feet away (as per CDC updated guidelines). Home remodeling and renovating aren’t an essential service. Unless you have a hole in your roof, of course. It’s in our own best interest, and our community’s, to limit who or what we come into contact with outside our own home. And when we’re looking at the big picture, the fact is, we should be grateful for this simple set of directions. There are medical personnel, police members, grocery staff, and other essential workers putting their own lives at risk on the front-lines. School is out, sports seasons are cancelled, and frankly, things may seem nowhere close to getting better. But just a few words of advice: stay inside, Zoom your friends, make hearts to plaster on your window. Going out if you don’t have to is not only dangerous for yourself, but it also hurts those doing important work to fight the pandemic.
COVID-19 is a real threat to everyone. While older people and those with pre-existing conditions are most at risk for the disease, that doesn’t mean young, healthy people are impervious. Recent stories and data from across the US have shown that those with seemingly minimal risk have been severely debilitated by the disease and died, and survivors come out with severe lung damage that is likely to have an effect on their health for the rest of their lives. And the worst thing that could happen is if everyone rushed out again, just because the most stringent restrictions are lifted, and made another stay-at-home order is necessary.
Ultimately, the best thing that most of us can do right now is to stay at home, if we have the financial means to do so. Those in essential services, like grocery workers and doctors, risk their health by going out everyday so that we don’t have to. But shutting ourselves in doesn’t have to be the end of our efforts. This pandemic is probably the most crucial time for us to get involved in community efforts; organizing fundraisers for those in need, sharing knowledge and information about the best courses of action to take, and making an effort to connect at a time when physical socializing isn’t possible. So take some time to call a friend or a colleague, maybe someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Find 20-second songs to wash your hands to. And don’t lose heart; the measures we’ve already taken show that our community can rally together in times of hardship. Stick to the guidelines of medical professionals, like most of us have, and once the pandemic is past, we can look back and say we were proud of our efforts as a community.