We were taught to say “please,” “thank you” and to hold the door for others as acts of courtesy. Really, it’s a part of everyday life to get along with others at home and in public.

Common courtesies make life easier and allow us to move about and do business in a safe and pleasant way. And, these courtesies reflect back on us as knowing how to act with others. We take these simple acts for granted as just good manners.

Maybe in 2020, in the age of COVID-19, wearing a mask in public places, washing our hands often and keeping some personal distance is just good manners toward others. These simple acts help protect us, our families and people around us from a deadly virus.

But, lots of folks are not wearing a mask or taking care in public as they should.

To be fair, masks are uncomfortable, and we have not received clear or consistent direction from our national or state leaders. We’re all tired of being cooped up and want our lives back to normal as quick as possible. So, being confused and frustrated is understandable in 2020.

But, the biggest part of “opening up,” getting the economy rolling and folks back to their jobs, is coping with and then defeating this virus. Our economy and jobs are not coming back if infection numbers keep rising, more people are sick, hospitalized or dying.

Few customers want to go shopping in a deadly environment. No one wants to spend like we did in 2019 if we’re unsure about our family’s health or our job security. Instead, we hold onto our money because that rainy day is here. That means fewer jobs and even fewer well-paying jobs.

So, it’s in our economic interest to take COVID-19 seriously. Coping with the virus means we slow or stop its spread; and, that includes wearing masks in public places.

Defeating the virus means a vaccine someday. If we don’t cope well with the virus, spikes and a second wave are certain. No one wants another shutdown. Jobs are at stake.

The best business model now includes taking customers’ safety seriously by requiring masks, social distancing and other appropriate standards. After all, no one wants to patronize a business or restaurant that is not safe to visit. Taking COVID-19 seriously shows customers that the business is a safe place to shop and visit. When folks feel and are safe, they will spend money.

Without clear or consistent direction from our leaders, it’s up to us to keep one another safe and bring the economy and jobs back.

This is not a political issue. It’s a public health matter. So, common courtesy to one another in 2020, and good economic sense, includes coping with the virus. That includes masks in public places, washing hands often and social distancing. Please and thank you.

Tim Gilpin is a Tulsa attorney.


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