IF PLACES ARE OPEN, SHOULD YOU STILL GO
The Disney company announced it was ending its Disney College and Internship programs on March 15 after just a month and a half. This came just days after the shutdown of multiple theme parks across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“[If I’m] being honest, I was heartbroken,” said one of the attraction workers of the Disney program, who wished to remain anonymous, in my brief interview with them over Instagram. “There were many tears on the last day. For many of us, working at Disney was a dream come true, and though it was a short-live dream, I very much enjoyed my time there and hope I can go back.”
While the source does not speak for the Disney Company, their disappointment in the park’s early closing is not a unique sentiment. A video went viral on Twitter of a Canadian child expressing a similar sentiment at the closing of Disneyland in California. “It’s closing for the whole month, and we come from Canada,” said the kid. “Took a long trip to get here.”
Rounding off the nation’s fourth month of quarantine, people are expectedly tired. Aside from the insane minority of those willing to storm the Capitol for a haircut, or would rather contract the virus than wear a mask, most people do want to feel normal again, in whatever capacity imaginable.
Government officials are racing to allow the country to open up again. Across the nation, restaurants, stores, schools, hair and nail salons, and even theme parks are reopening at half capacity with safety measures put in place. Some events aren’t even bothering with safety measures; Donald Trump held a presidential rally in Tulsa, OK, just as he would have in 2016, with no social distancing measures or mask requirements in place.
Not everyone is happy with the reopening measures. Disney itself announced a reopening of all of its parks at half capacity, with temperature checks upon entering and leaving the parks and masks required for all staff and guests over the age of two. This sparked controversy on the Internet about what was safe and what was “too far.”
A major problem everyone seems to have, especially with the Disney situation in particular, is that these safety measures will interfere with our plans for after the quarantine. That this prevents us from doing all those things we said we wanted to do once we were allowed out of the house again. It isn’t enough for the park to be open again; it has to be open again normally. Now that things are open, can normality be achieved?
The short answer? No.
The most important thing everyone needs to remember is that the U.S. government and many facets of the country are preemptively celebrating an unearned victory. We all did the quarantine thing, we shut down the economy for a little while, and now that we’ve done our due diligence we can pat ourselves on the back and move on with our lives.
Many users on social media have expressed concern in the past month over a potential “second wave,” or a resurgence in coronavirus cases in countries that reopened too early. The concern is well-intended, but the fact of the matter is that the U.S. is still in the middle of our first wave.
The U.S. has not yet seen a noticeable, constant decline in cases, but many places are opening up as though the virus doesn’t exist. Worse yet, the virus has slowly but surely made its way into rural America. For rural Americans, the coronavirus used to be something you only heard about on T.V.; you didn’t even know someone who knew someone who had the coronavirus. Now, even people who live hours away from cities have probably had a case of the virus within their families, circles of friends, or workplaces.
This is not to say that no one should ever go outside ever again. However, everyone needs to understand that you do run the risk of getting sick if you go outdoors without wearing a mask and without practicing social distancing measures. You also run the risk of getting other people sick; it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show, meaning a carrier could spread the virus without even knowing that they have it.
Even if you think masks are uncomfortable, the results speak for themselves. Multiple staffers of the Trump team tested positive for the coronavirus after his 2016-esque presidential rally, wherein President Trump claimed that people should do “what they want” in regards to wearing masks.
The desire for normality is understandable, but we as a society have to recognize that the idea that everything will go back to normal within the year is a pipe dream. In order to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, some sacrifices have to be made, but it doesn’t have to be made at anyone’s discomfort.
There are simple solutions to the mask and social distancing discomforts. Does the idea of wearing a mask at Disney World make you feel like crying? Don’t go to Disney World this year. Are you annoyed by half capacity limits on stores? Try shopping online. If you feel under the weather, don’t leave the house at all. Even if normality can’t be achieved, we can all do our best to be as safe as possible.