A few weeks back, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo doubled down on, what the New York Post called, his ‘war on fun.’
Yesterday, it was Gov. Charlie Baker's turn.
“People are tired,” Baker admitted. “I am too.
“None of us were brought up anticipating that we would end up living a significant portion of our lives away from a lot of the people we normally spend
time with. …The constant inability to hug people, to engage in any kind of traditional group gathering that we would normally do as a matter
of course, on a regular basis is psychologically exhausting.”
And yet, the governor added, “This is what COVID wants more than anything else; which is familiarization, close contact, hugging, singing… JOY!”
Baker’s comments came yesterday, amidst new reports of an infection spike in some communities and while warning that Labor Day weekend parties may contribute to COVID spread. (Scroll down to watch the video.)
“Most of the contact tracing so far does not imply or suggest or indicate that [work places are] the problem. It just doesn’t.”
The problem is “people who are familiar with each other, being familiar with each other.”
In other words, it’s not people at work where COVID is winning. It’s large groups of people having fun.
"I don’t like the fact that so many of my friends aren’t part of my life….And I know that’s how most people feel.”
In February, 3.7 million people were employed in the state. That dropped to 2.85 million in April but climbed to 3.24 million in July.
"In the beginning of the summer, we were in a really rough place. Half a million people who weren't working in Massachusetts at the beginning of the summer
are working now. That's progress.
"And we should be proud of the fact that that's happened because it wouldn't have happened without the people of Massachusetts stepping up every day and
doing the things they need to do to stop the spread."
‘Stand up and make the best of it’
I basically agree with every thing Baker said yesterday (including his warning about rushing a vaccine.)
But that doesn’t mean we don’t need something just as pragmatic -- but a little more uplifting -- heading into Labor Day weekend.
For that, I recommend Needham Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick’s latest post from her wonderful “Very Kate” blog. Here’s part of what she wrote this week:
“In March we were overwhelmed, and in April scared. In May we thought we saw the end. Sadly, there is no end in sight. We will be leading these communities through a pandemic for the foreseeable future. As in “years” with an “s.” If that doesn’t make you want to lie down, I don’t know what will.
“In addition, of course, we are facing down this pandemic while gearing up for a financial crisis, and amid the call for racial justice that is resonating in our communities and city and town halls. Are you still standing?"
I know. I know. I promised uplifting. Read on...
“Labor Day is one of those temporal landmarks for me, probably even more than the New Year. It is a good time to take stock of work and career goals. Who else wishes we could be handed a syllabus this fall, with clear guidance as to what success looks like by 2021? So what can we do?
“We can stand up and make the best of a long season of social distancing, canceled vacations, and postponed family events.
“We can stand up to create some joy in a year at work with all of the hard things and none of the fun things – no in-person conferences, no wedding or baby showers, and no holiday parties.
‘We can reestablish routines that got lost in the pandemic or over the summer – regular staff meetings, one-on-one meetings with director reports, and all staff training events, thanks to Zoom.
“Most importantly, as local government leaders, we can to stand up and have difficult conversations about race, while at the same time supporting the men and women working in our police departments. …”
Congratulations to Newton City Councilor Jake Aunchincloss who has been declared winner of the Fourth Congressional District’s Democratic primary, according to the Associated Press.
He will face Republican Julie Hall of Attleboro in November.
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