Governor Kate Brown’s ordered a state-wide two-week freeze that went into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The freeze implemented new measures to limit gatherings and stop the spread of COVID-19, which has been surging throughout the state in the past two weeks.

The pandemic will alter Thanksgiving plans for hundreds of thousands of families. The freeze will force restaurants to offer take-out and delivery only, which will leave bars on the razor’s edge of survival. Most businesses will be affected, either by having to close or to limit in-person traffic.

The holidays are going to be different—most events have been canclled, including Keizer’s Holiday Lights Parade and the tradiitonal lighting of the Christmas tree at Walery Plaza. Fortunately, the Gubser neighborhood’s Miracle of Christmas light display will go on while observing social distancing.

Fatigue with pandemic rules and restrictions is understandable. Americans are doers—we don’t do well when told to hunker down at home, especially during the dark days of fall and winter. The rules, restrictions and freezes are not punitive. Our leaders are making the best decisions they can in a bad situation. 

The food and beverage industry has borne the brunt of the COVID restrictions. A robust contact tracing program would show that few of the burgeoning cases come from restaurants and bars. The recent surge is reportedly coming from private gatherings; Halloween parties resulted in more cases than dining establishments. 

Our society is in this together. If we don’t watch out for each other, who will? Health experts on every level have been insistent that wearing face masks is key to controlling the coronavirus, yet many view that as a trampling of personal liberties. It is not.

Oregon has been diligent in masking and social distancing. The state has one of the lowest death rates in the country and ranks 40th in the nation with less than 60,000 coronavirus cases. Texas and California have both had more than 1 million cases. By adhering to pandemic rules Oregon flattened the curve, we can do it again.

We must heed the experts when it comes to matters of our health and the coronavirus. When we let our guard down due to virus fatigue or personal beliefs we don’t just endanger ourselves but others as well. 

If we Oregonians tap into our pioneer spirit, we can get control of COVID-19 until a vaccine is available, which appears to be tantalizing close.    

 —LAZ