Editorial: Shift to Phase 5 a cause for celebration, within reason.
The thing about goals is that once you achieve them, you still need to work at maintaining what you've fought hard to get.
Think of your last diet. When you hit your goal weight, did you celebrate by downing a whole plate of brownies? That would be silly.
Understandable, but unproductive.
As we Illinoisans today celebrate our graduation to Phase 5 on the COVID-19 restrictions scale -- Illinois' Grand Reopening, if you will -- keep in mind all we've done to get to this point to achieve this goal. Think of the isolation we've endured, the effort it took to get vaccinated, the jobs that have been lost, the people who didn't make it this far, the families whose lives will never be the same.
Yes, celebrate our achievement, but don't forget all of the sacrifice it took to get to this point.
In essence, don't eat that whole plate of brownies. Treat yourself to one and pass the plate.
Our Jake Griffin spoke to business people, swimming pool operators, restaurateurs and theater operators for a story in Thursday's newspapers about what changes are coming with the shift to Phase 5.
To a person, they expressed concern about going overboard on the celebrating, discarding all that we've learned about personal space and hygiene over the last 15 months, and propelling us into a COVID tailspin (think Florida's Spring Break) that forces us back into Phase 4 or worse.
For businesses, that would mean money wasted on prepping for Phase 5. And it also would mean more sick or dying.
With children younger than 12 unvaccinated, a third of others having chosen not to be vaccinated and the long-term efficacy of vaccines still in question, the bug is still out there.
The statistics continue to show encouragement, but we shouldn't look upon our graduation day as carte blanche to dismiss common sense.
Another thing that concerns the people who run the businesses and attractions we're itching to return to: there simply aren't enough employees available to handle full crowds.
"It's basically like opening the business from scratch, because we're going to have to find people to work, which is a national problem," Paul Slagle, general manager of the Libertyville bar and restaurant Firkin, told Griffin.
"I'm optimistic that people will come back, and I look forward to seeing people come in and fill up the bar again, but our business got taken away from us and it's going to take years to recover."
So, while you're eager to resume some sense of normalcy, it's important that we all show a little patience when your meal takes a little longer to get to the table.