Today is the first day pandemic restrictions are eased in Indiana (except in three counties where conditions don’t warrant it yet). Stage 1 was the full stay-at-home order. We’re now in Stage 2, which allows all retail stores to open at half capacity, allows social gatherings to resume at no more than 25 people (with distancing and face masks), and lifts travel restrictions. Religious services can resume this weekend, with distancing. Next Monday, hair and nail salons can reopen by appointment only and with staff wearing masks, and restaurants can open at half capacity. Distancing and masks remain encouraged. People aged 65 and over and anyone with a high-risk medical condition are encouraged to stay home.
I find myself wanting to remain more conservative than the state is allowing. I don’t think the curve was flattened enough here. I worry that we are going to cause a spike in cases. I don’t envision eating in a restaurant or visiting my stylist (oh, how unwieldy my hair is becoming!). You won’t see me shopping except for food and necessities. I’m not going to church.
However, I’m finding it more and more difficult, emotionally, to not see family. Also, I think our children who still live with us are deeply craving contact with friends and family too. Yesterday we decided it was time to take some calculated risks. We had one of our sons over, one who lives alone and has deeply missed us. We allowed another son to have his girlfriend over. There has been some on-the-sly contact between them anyway, and we think that otherwise our family and theirs have honored the stay-at-home order. It was so nice to have everybody here. I think this is going to be our new normal for a while.
We aren’t alone, it seems. NPR reports that the number of Americans who stay home every day has declined steadily in the three weeks since Easter, based on mobile-phone location data. This suggests that social distancing may on the decline. It’s possible, I suppose, that people are practicing good social distancing wherever they’re going.
We’re eager to see Margaret’s dad and my mom, but they’ll have to wait a little longer. They’re both north of age 65 and one has a high-risk health condition. This is where we’re drawing the line for now.
Assuming the indicators state officials are watching stay within tolerances, we will move to Stage 3 on May 24. which loosens restrictions even further. There will be Stages 4 and 5 as well, currently timed for June 14 and July 4. Even at Stage 5, we will still need to socially distance in public.
We’re not going to return fully to normal for some time yet.
One additional pandemic report today, from Christopher May.