Commentary, Mauldin

Don’t Stop Being Safe.

I preface this by saying that as rapidly as things continue changing, there’s a strong possibility that whatever I write here will be outdated by the time you read it. That said, please know I write it with a sense of hope, and for that, please consider giving me an “A” for effort.

The last time you and I talked, we were living in quarantine.

Taft Matney

City parks were closed. The Senior Center was closed. The Sports Center was closed. City Hall was closed to the public except for those there for essential business or to pay court fines. Governor McMaster ordered everyone to stay hope unless they’re going to work or to get essential goods and services.

We were at a standstill.

Yesterday, I got to go to church in person. I got to put on long pants and a jacket and see my preacher six feet from me instead of on my TV.

This morning, my son got to drive to his school, get his temperature taken, and go down to the athletic fields to find out from his coaches what summer football practices will look like this year and the safety procedures they’ll employ to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Tonight, Mauldin City Council will meet (socially distanced) in council chambers at City Hall for the first time since the shutdown.

Tomorrow night, the Farmers’ Market will be open at the Mauldin Cultural Center.

Slowly but surely, things are beginning to reopen, but now is not the time to become complacent and think, “We got through this. Everything’s OK.”

We havent’ yet, and it’s not.

On March 15, there were 28 positive COVID cases in South Carolina and 1 in Greenville County. There were 0 COVID-related deaths in South Carolina.

By April 15, there were 3656 positive COVID cases in South Carolina and 400 in Greenville County. There were 107 COVID-related deaths in South Carolina and 11 in Greenville County.

By May 15, there were 8407 positive COVID cases in South Carolina and 1021 in Greenville County. There were 380 COVID-related deaths in South Carolina and 46 in Greenville County.

By June 15, there were 19,378 positive COVID cases in South Carolina and 3011 in Greenville County. There were 602 COVID-related deaths in South Carolina and 69 in Greenville County.

Numbers continue to rise, and that’s not good, but realistically, we cannot all stay locked up forever.

People worry about being exposed to the virus. They’re justified. People worry about the short-term financial toll of a shutdown on their personal lives. They’re justified. People worry about the long-term (and in some cases, irrevocable) economic impact on business. They’re justified. People worry about the potential for government to overstep its authority and by limiting travel, limiting constitutional rights like the freedom to assemble for religion or speech. They’re justified.

There’s no wrong way to feel about what we’re dealing with. Unless you survived the Spanish Flu, this whole global pandemic thing is new to you, too. We’re all confused together.

That said, let’s give each other a little grace. Don’t let someone’s differing opinion on their COVID concerns be a reason to attack them for being “wrong.”

City parks are open. The Senior Center will open soon. The Sports Center is open. City Hall is open. Governor McMaster told everyone they can leave their houses. We’re looking outside and seeing what reality looks like now, but whether it’s to protect yourself or out of respect for others, please just follow the CDC guidelines to help stop the virus’ spread. We want to see these numbers go down, and we don’t want you to be on the list of statistics.

— Taft Matney serves in Seat 1 on Mauldin city Council. He can be reached at tmatney@mauldincitysc.com.■

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