OUR VIEW: Now is not the time to neglect safety measures

For several months Americans banded together to take all kinds of precautions to slow the spread of the potentially deadly novel coronavirus.

Some of those measures were easier than others, and many people made extreme sacrifices to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.

Business people had to close their operations or severely reduce their services, and many probably struggled to make ends meet and will continue to endure hardships from closing for such a long period of time.

Most families decided to stay at home, which meant they did get to spend more time together, but that time was spent under less-than-ideal circumstances that probably involved a lot of stress, confusion, frustration and even anger — not necessarily the best environment for quality family time.

Schools closed, and many businesses asked their employees to work from home, meaning adults and children had to adjust to a new reality for several months.

There were no trips to the movie theater, no shopping outings, no lunch meet-ups at your favorite restaurant with friends, no hair cuts, not even a trip to your favorite hiking trail or an afternoon spent at the park.

Grieving families limited visitors to funerals, and sick individuals stayed nights in the hospital alone.

Amid all that, many people still made the brave sacrifice of going to work every day. These “essentials” made it possible for us to remain safe, healthy and well prepared through the pandemic crisis. They work at hospitals, nursing homes, police departments, EMS, fire departments, gas stations, grocery stores and more. They’re truly heroes in our eyes.

We all made sacrifices to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Those sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.

It is critical that as we begin to reopen our community and our economy, we don’t destroy the progress we made by way of those sacrifices by forgetting the importance of taking necessary precautions to protect ourselves and those we encounter — whether that be at home, work or out in public.

Many people have returned to work, stores have reopened and restaurants are serving customers in their dining rooms again.

With just some minor adjustments to our routine, we can still continue to enjoy these things and feel a little more normal.

Wear a mask when it’s possible. Masks protect you from inhaling respiratory droplets that might be infected with the virus, and they prevent you from spreading your own potentially infected fluids, too.

Continue to use good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap and water.

Adhere to the guidelines set by our state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Limit contact with individuals who you do not live with or work with. If you opt to hang out with others, wear a mask and/or practice strict social distancing.

Limit gatherings to 10 people or less.

Let’s not throw all the progress we made out the door by being careless. By choosing not to be careful and considerate, there’s a possibility we’ll see another surge of cases of the virus, and that could very well mean repeating the more extreme measures to slow the spread again. No one wants that.

Let’s continue to make those sacrifices we all made the last couple of months count for something.

Editorials reflect the opinion of The Sun’s editorial board. To inquire about a meeting with the board, email Editor Whitney Leggett at whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com.