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Opinion

Rettke: If you care about business, you'll follow public safety rules as we enter Phase 3

Kelsey Rettke is the editor of the Daily Chronicle and can be reached at krettke@shawmedia.com.
Kelsey Rettke is the editor of the Daily Chronicle and can be reached at krettke@shawmedia.com.

On Friday, the local business scene will look different.

Many of us will be able to enjoy a meal out for the first time in two months, a haircut, a weekend camping trip to get away from it all. Local small-business owners and their staff will finally be able to gain back a measure of the revenue they’ve so desperately needed and missed during this crisis.

We’ll be able to enjoy some of the simple luxuries in life we’ve been forgoing for weeks in an effort to save lives.

More than 5,000 Illinoisans have died.

Some of you disagree on the “what is this all for.” Over the past weeks, I’ve had many an email or conversation with readers, some friendly, some not, on social media and otherwise who’ve got it in their heads that public safety rules and regulations such as wearing face masks in public spaces, social distancing and working from home are a malicious infringement upon their constitutional rights.

They neglected to remember the point of all of this, which is to mitigate hospital patient surges and prevent more death.

That mutually exclusive mindset of “if you’re not for me, then you’re against me” is tiresome and dangerous.

The best way we can support our businesses that will reopen Friday is to follow the rules. Otherwise, this may escalate again, and who knows what a second shutdown would look like.

It’s good news that our state public health officials feel we’re in a stable enough spot to begin reopen measures ahead of schedule.

Churches weren’t included in the Phase 3 amendments, although many seem to be taking the stay-at-home mandates in stride and finding creative ways to continue to worship, educate and commune together.

I agree we can’t close things down forever and also agree that our small businesses need something more than what they’re able to do right now. I hope Phase 3 gives them some respite.

But in order for our small businesses to continue to remain open, in order for bars and restaurants to expand their availability, in order for us to move forward into a reality that resembles normalcy, we need to follow public safety protocols.

Pro-health does not mean anti-business, and vice versa. If you really care about these businesses, you will follow their rules.

Illinois residents are getting angry and impatient. But we can’t let ourselves become selfish, too.

One step forward, two steps back is not how we will help these businesses now.

Many of our local businesses, eateries and watering holes will be posting guidelines specific to their space on the front door of their establishments or on their social media pages. Stay plugged into our coverage as we’ll do our best to share how everyone plans to reopen.

Be responsible. Read the rules before you go.

If you don’t want to wear a face mask into a store, bar or salon that requires one, don’t go. Don’t put your ignorance in front of the safety of others. Because the simple fact of the matter is that our actions have consequences. You may not reap them, but others could.

In order to enjoy these privileges we’ve had returned to us, we need to do our part.

• Kelsey Rettke is editor of the Daily Chronicle, a Shaw Media publication. Reacher her at krettke@shawmedia.com.

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