When We Emerge From Our Foxholes
Like just about everyone else right now, I'm wondering what life is going to be like once enough Americans have been vaccinated for COVID-19 that people feel comfortable venturing out into public life again.
For many small business owners, this is more than just an intellectual exercise: If you own a restaurant, bar, fitness facility or any business that used to depend on packing the maximum number of people into the minimum amount of floor space, your very existence may depend on getting this right.
I am pleased to say that both my wife and I have been vaccinated (with no side effects). But that doesn't mean we are changing our lifestyle anytime soon.
Here are some decisions we have made about how we will go about living the next one to two years.
We Will Be Wearing Masks for a While Yet. We are all waiting for that glorious day when we can take our masks off and look people in the face when we speak to them. But I don't think that will be for a while.
Until we have a reliable way to identify people who are safe to be around (see below), I will be wearing a mask when I visit a store, post office or any interior space, and I will keep several in my car just in case I forget one when I leave the house.
We Will Be Keeping Children at a Safe Distance. Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are not available for children under 16 because the clinical trials for that age group started later.
The good news is that when kids get COVID-19, it is almost always not a life-threatening event. The bad news is that kids are now going back to in-person classrooms that I think are likely to become superspreaders. Ask any teacher: When one kid gets the flu, everyone in contact with the class gets the flu, including the teachers, the janitors and the principal. And this ain't no flu.
Until we know for sure how COVID-19 affects children under the age of 16, or a vaccine is developed for that demographic, I will not be getting too close to kids and tweens, much as I may love them.
We Will Be Looking for Proof of Vaccination. Here is the biggest thing government needs to do to help get society back on normal footing. When I'm in unfamiliar surroundings, I want to be able to identify -- quickly and accurately -- who around me has been vaccinated or has survived the disease.