Inconvenient but necessary

Why we need to stop leaving the house

Kristin Boyles, Op/Ed Assistant Editor

Within the span of a few days, we went from not knowing a whole lot about COVID-19 to it upending our entire lives, including moving classes online and closing restaurants and stores around the country. Recently, our governor told all “non-life-sustaining” businesses to close, yet people continue to complain and frequent Walmart or Giant anyway, despite the fact that we’ve been asked repeatedly to sit still and stay away from each other. This leaves me wondering: Don’t you see what happened in other parts of the globe? Do you want that to happen to you and your loved ones?

I didn’t think so.

At first, I also thought it seemed like we were taking drastic measures for a virus that seemed to be hurting a lot less people than our media made it seem like.

Whether it will hit the US harder than it already is or not isn’t the problem. The problem is the fact that I went to work at Giant — where I have to be because I am young and healthy and a college student — in the early morning on that first weekend after our governments started restricting our comings and goings, there were already five cashiers open. On a normal day, we have one cashier for hours with no problem.

There were so many people in Giant that I had absolutely no time to even take a drink of water, let alone clean the conveyor belt, pin pads, or the touchscreen I have to use to ring up your orders.

You know social distancing? The whole “6-feet apart” business? Not a single customer at Giant that day did that. Not during a single moment in my entire 4-hour shift. It’s been a week since these guidelines first started being enforced in our good old central Pennsylvania stores, yet I’ve noticed that most people still don’t listen, despite the fact that social distancing is recommended by both the CDC and WHO. I understand that when you checkout with a cashier, you have to be less than 6 feet away from me. Fine. But the rest of the customers? There is no reason for this.

Stop panic buying. I understand you have nothing to do and nowhere to go. It’s an inconvenience to all of us. It’s not just you.

Get what you need and get out. If you don’t actually need anything, don’t come to the store. Please.

If people could simply follow the guidelines created by the CDC and WHO — wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, keep 6 feet between you and the people around you, stay home unless you absolutely need to go out, work from home if you can, use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash your hands — we wouldn’t need these drastic measures. We wouldn’t need to close every single restaurant and “non-essential” business because we would all be happier and healthier.

Unfortunately, it seems that we are incapable of halting our daily activities for a few weeks because it’s an inconvenience. Of course it’s an inconvenience. But it’ll be an even bigger inconvenience if you and your loved ones get COVID-19, because if you don’t follow these guidelines…..inevitably, you or someone you know will get it.

While I appreciate the compassion that has taken the forefront during this global pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that many people are still not taking this seriously.

You are not invincible. None of us are.

I have to go to Giant. I have to see hundreds of people when I’m there. They have to be in my face. Many of you have jobs that are the same, I’m sure.

Out of respect for those of us still working and, more importantly, out of respect for your fellow humans, please consolidate your shopping trips. Instead of venturing out every day, for the love of God, do not. Go once a week—and if you don’t need to go out after seven days pass, please don’t.

We are all facing inconveniences and discomfort. You are not alone. I can only ask that you try to do what you can to stop the spread of COVID-19. Our county may not have a whole lot of cases yet, but I assure you, that number will only continue to increase. I only hope you realize how important it is to take preventative action now rather than after it’s already too late.