To the editor,

Shortly after we entered the decade of the 2020s, we were confronted with some of the most challenging social, political, civil, financial and medical issues that any of us can remember. The world-wide Covid pandemic has resulted in the loss of life, loss of income, loss of educational opportunities, loss of patience, and as we hunkered down and sheltered in place, a sense of loss of community.

We are still trying desperately to find some sense of normalcy while having no idea of what that will ultimately look and feel like. This nervous sense of uncertainty is complicated by new and bothersome rituals like wearing face masks, being extra careful about what we can or cannot touch, and something almost totally opposite of what we learned from birth -- a new culture of interpersonal relationships driven not by coming together, but by staying apart.

These stressful times have been complicated by unprecedented heat waves in our region and across the country, further stretching our patience and tolerance for things that seem against our nature. There is no question that our lives have changed; it is doubtful that we will ever get back to a place that we all had accepted as normal before March of this year.

However, I believe that as humans, neighbors, residents and citizens, we have an ingrained sense of compassion -- a desire to help others and a respect for doing the right thing. Over the past four months I have seen businesses large and small, first responders, medical practitioners at all levels, students, teachers, farmers, and individuals of all ages and from every economic position within our society, come together to rally around stopping the spread of this virus and helping those physically and financially impacted by it.

We are not done yet! While the initial response was outstanding, it seems that our enthusiasm and desire to be effective is waning. More and more we see people ignoring the basic practices that helped us get ahead of this problem and helped us get our businesses back open and parks, attractions and schools back in action.

We need to continue to practice social distancing, enhanced personal hygiene and wear face masks when we frequent businesses in our communities. It has been a long, hard stretch for all of us, but none have had it worse than our friends and neighbors who own and operate or work at businesses that were closed down with little or no warning, with no idea whatsoever about when, how or if they would be allowed to re-open.

It’s more important than ever that you do your part. Do what needs to be done to help our communities and our businesses recover from the unfortunate and crippling environment that fell upon us. Do what needs to be done as a citizen, a resident, a neighbor and as a human who knows that the right thing to do is follow the rules. It will not only protect you, but all of those around you, including friends who are struggling to keep their businesses open and keep members of our communities employed.

Please, just follow the rules! It does make a difference. Together we will overcome these challenges as we have many times before.

For more information about COVID-19 response activities in Oswego County, please visit oswegocounty.com or health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19 or call the Oswego County Health Department COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sincerely,

Jim Weatherup

Chairman

Oswego County Legislature

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