It’s been a long year and a half. We’ve had to hunker down in quarantine, learn to wear masks everywhere we go, and keep our distance from loved ones. Aside from those we lost during the pandemic, we also lost our sense of connectivity and community with one another.
Local, family focused events prior to the pandemic, brought us together organically. There is something about seeing your extended neighbors that makes you appreciate where you live. It grounds you, connects you, and lifts your spirit.
According to the CDC, being outside, where social distancing is easier, reduces the chance of spreading or catching the virus. The breeze disperses airborne virus particles and sunlight has been found to help reduce spread as well. Moreover, with high vaccination numbers in Maine, we have even more of an opportunity to resume some of our previous activities that resembles a greater sense of normalcy. While we can’t lower our guard, smaller, outdoor events returning this summer, seem to be a great way to safely to get out of the house and engage with our neighbors again.
Since last March, we’ve seen how the global pandemic has impacted not just our country as a whole, but our neighbors right down the street.
While there has been direct economic fallout attributed squarely on the pandemic, it also highlighted the long term, systemic needs in our community that have been there all along.
It’s easy, if you don’t see the need every day yourself within your own household or family, to have an out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality. Having grown up with a single a mom relying on various assistance programs, it’s something that’s hits close to home. In fact, I still have one of the ‘food coupons’ or food stamps as a reminder of where I came from and how easy it is to fall behind no matter who you are or where you come from.
Beyond the Headlines
Weekly Column featured in The Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper by Rep. Justin Chenette of Saco