WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we heard from Ohioans answering the question: How do you feel about the reopening of businesses and services?
Read responses to this week's question and other reflections from Ohioans below.
Nadlin Antwi from Westerville
Whew! I don’t think we are ready. I think we have a long way to go, but I believe in humanity and people being kind to one another. I believe that if we work with each other we can open and open safely.
We are all tired of being locked down and we want something different, but we have seen the severe effects of this virus and should keep that in mind. Nevertheless, we will still rise and evolve, slowly, together and respectfully.
Anonymous from Gahanna
I feel anxious about the reopening of businesses and services. I believe our numbers are lower in Ohio because we have closed things and states at home. To open up now seems counterproductive to keeping the number of cases low.
I worry that reopening sends the message that things are back to normal, and nothing is further from the truth. Our normal is that this virus will be with us, and we need to protect each other. I am incredibly worried that this step may cause a second wave in cases. I hope I am wrong.
Anonymous from Dublin
I'm not happy that offices are not following the mandatory orders for their office personnel to work from home if they can. I have been ordered back to the office 9-5 Monday-Friday, when I had worked from home for eight weeks with no problems. I'd only have to come in once a week for a few hours to get mail and do a few things I couldn't do from home.
Now I'm exposed to people and I have a very vulnerable child at home who I might infect. I know I would be fired if I said anything to the boss, and I am the only one working in the home and have no savings. I have no choice than to risk my life and the other person's life and that's not fair.
Courtney Hunt from Columbus
I think it's too early. I understand that people are frustrated and many folks are unemployed right now, but I think there's going to be a resurgence and then things will have to close again, which might hurt the economy even more.
As the weather gets warmer, our family will be thinking of creative ways to social distance and see our friends (only outdoors, no more than one other family at a time). Still, we will not be dining in anywhere or shopping much in person aside from groceries. I am a working parent of a small child, and none of this is easy, but I really wish that we could wait even one more month before things reopen.
Anonymous from rural Ohio
I will proceed cautiously. I’ve been reminded many times that I am in the vulnerable group. I still wear a mask. I haven’t seen or embraced my children or grandchildren, which I long to do.
My grandfather died in the second wave of the Spanish flu in January of 1919. I will remain secluded and vigilante.
Christin Honesto from Findlay
I feel scared. We closed down in the nick of time only to be "forced" to go back out into the pandemic where you know well people won't be careful. Sadly, too many times we have seen those who just don't care.
Knowing how everything spread so quickly and caused so much pain and suffering is just too much to bear, let alone having to face it regardless of tragic outcomes. Plus, following the new child cases (having an 8-year-old daughter) I just want to keep her safe and make sure I can be there for her in this crazy world. So yes, scared and sad.
I am fortunate to have a great career with the Ohio State University where I can work from home. As a result, I have not lost any income. That being said, my life has been impacted in less significant ways. I have not been able to coach flag football, which is something that I really enjoy volunteering to do.
Vacation plans have been cancelled as well, and I did not anticipate that this virus in conjunction with mandates from the governor would have such a profound impact on my life. I know people that have lost their jobs and income and are really struggling to make ends meet. I understand the desire of the governor to want to flatten the curve, reduce hospitalizations, and mitigate potential deaths, but at what cost?
As a society, we have focused so intently on deaths, hospitalizations, etc. but no one talks about the more than 1 million unemployed people in Ohio. How will Ohioans in these situations pay bills? The goals keep changing. At first it was we need to flatten the curve, then it was we need to reduce hospitalizations, now it’s we need a vaccine. I’m glad to see the state reopening and hoping that people are able to find opportunities soon!
Anonymous from Columbus
When we choose to reopen mere months into a global pandemic, at a time when there are no proven therapeutic treatments and certainly no vaccine, what we are really saying is that we believe money is more important than human life. Don’t tell me that an economic downturn could prove more fatal than a global pandemic.
As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, this country could absolutely help every citizen get through this without forcing anyone to choose between their livelihoods and the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. We should be listening to experts rather than people who are motivated by things like wealth and electability. If keeping everyone healthy was the top priority, we would not be reopening now.
Emmett Foley from Worthington
When school was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I was surprised. I am a freshman in high school and I remember being at school and hearing the rumors start to spread that we were going to be on lockdown for weeks. This shocked me but, at the same time, I was a little happy. The day after school was canceled, I went and bought a Nintendo Switch. If I couldn’t go to school, at least I could socialize with my virtual villagers in Animal Crossing.
But, during the coronavirus pandemic, I have learned more than how to build an Animal Crossing Village and more than how to do school remotely. I have learned about the importance of family. Six months ago, my Grandaddy was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Even though we were on “stay at home” lockdown, my mom and I had been visiting my grandparents in Chesapeake, Ohio. On our most recent visit, my Grandaddy was super weak and my Grandma needed help to move him and watch over him so she could have a break. During the time I was there, we only saw a terrible decline in his health. When it started to get worse, we decided that my two Aunts needed to immediately come to say their goodbyes to their Dad.
The next two days were the most difficult for us, and him, as we were trying to keep Grandaddy comfortable. I was there when he decided to go to the Hospice House and, the next morning, he passed. It was so sad to be there, but also so important. If it weren’t for COVID, I would not have been able to spend seven days away from home. I wouldn’t have been with my Granddaddy at the end of his life.
COVID-19 has been a defining experience in my lifetime. I have learned so much about self-control and how to put others before my own needs.
This week, Letters From Home is asking the question: Where have you found distraction and relief during this time?
Answer this question using the form below, and try to keep below 1,000 words. Your response may be edited for length and clarity.