By editorial board • 

Patience required for the path ahead

The reopening of businesses in Yamhill County, according to the state’s Phase 1 guidelines, has so far gone according to plan. Let’s hope it stays that way. 

For personal service businesses like barber shops, it’s been a fervent week with lines out the door and appointment books filled for days or weeks. As far as we can tell, local shops are adhering to the safety guidelines. That’s important no matter one’s opinion on the severity of the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the state has indicated it will force opened counties to reverse course if cases begin to increase significantly.

For restaurants and tasting rooms, slow and steady has been the recurring theme. Leading into what normally is one of the area’s busiest times — Memorial Day Weekend — only some of the restaurants have opened for dine-in. Those who have opened are reporting a challenging, but overall successful first venture into the new ways to operate. 

Wineries, a backbone of our local hospitality industry, are reporting much the same. Most that reopened did so by reservations only as they ease back into business, juggling the health of their employees and customers along with offering the kind of experience patrons  expect in the heart of Oregon wine country. 

It is encouraging to witness a natural easing into Phase 1. While some businesses reopened, many others are waiting for a variety of reasons.

The goal now is Phase 2, which would mean the dangers of COVID-19 remain manageable, and the economy would be allowed to take another step forward in its recovery process. 

The unprecedented struggle of small businesses to survive has a small lifeline in Phase 1. Everyone must keep that in mind before passing judgment on how owners proceed with business. The state has instituted strict guidelines, and this is not the time to allow personal feelings about the process to project even more distress upon those trying to cope with the new norm.

While social media and certain news outlets are full of discontent, it’s encouraging to witness that on the ground, here in Yamhill County at least, patrons for the most part have been understanding, and businesses are serious about the safety of employees and customers.

The closure and reopening of business amid COVID-19 will continue to be politicized. Opinions on the issue very greatly. Finding a balanced and fair path forward is a complicated task. But everyone must face the new reality, and do their part to allow our communities as a whole to continue moving forward. 

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