Social distancing is hard.

After doing a lot of staying home, only leaving for work and essential shopping since Gov. Kate Brown’s order was issued on March 23, it’s understandable that people are weary of isolation.  That isn’t to mention the devastation the virus has and will continue to have on the economy. Families, cities, states and school districts may feel the aftermath of that for years to come.

But it is important to keep in mind why health and government officials ask us to stay away from each other and order a change in how we do business, if it can be done at all. There’s no proven treatment and no vaccine for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. So many questions remain about the virus itself, including why some groups of people more vulnerable.

What we do know is that some groups suffer and die from COVID-19 at alarming rates. It takes all of us to protect them and ensure that front-line medical workers and hospitals are not overwhelmed or get sick. Sitting at home in your pajamas scrolling through Netflix or shopping for another new book to read isn’t just an inconvenience — it may be a sacrifice you make to save lives.

We hope that life returns to something resembling normal soon; that we won’t have to spend part or all of our beautiful Oregon summer inside and away from each other. But until then, be grateful that we live in a state that has plenty of space and parks where staying the recommended six feet away from other people is possible while enjoying those precious Pacific Northwest sunny days.

We support innovative ways of reopening our economy in a safe manner and hope those efforts are successful. In the meantime, keep in mind that we can still support local businesses by buying take out and shopping with them online. We may not be able to see and talk to shop owners in person, but we can help them stay in business and pay their employees.

And while we know it’s not the same, you can connect with friends and family via social media and other means of virtual hanging out.

The barbecues, lunches with friends, and after-work drinks (in-person anyway) can wait a little longer. A life might be depending on it.

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