“Do you think they have a group chat called ‘the Tri-State Governors Squad?” Caroline asked while discussing how the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors are making decisions together regarding re-opening. As New Jersey residents,we are pretty plugged into the decisions these men are making- their names and their thoughts are referenced often over the course of our quarantined days. Things got silly quickly when we wondered which one of the governors doesn’t have an iPhone. I voted for Lamont, governor of Connecticut. He just seems like he might be an android kind of guy. You know how there is always one person in each group chat who doesn’t have an iPhone? And then you are stuck not being able to name the group chat? So then you have a bunch of different group chats with some of the same people and some different people and you inevitably end up texting something in the wrong group and you just hope that is never something catty or mean?
I’m off topic before I’ve even begun so anyway… yes. I think the governors have a group chat. And I think they have decided to open our beaches as a test at best and so that they can say ‘I told you so’ at worst. I picture them as seasoned parents. I am too over-protective to operate this way as a mom but I know there are plenty of parents out there who let their children learn and grow by making mistakes. I feel like this is what the governors are doing.
Just like our children do, their constituents must have relentlessly begged to go to the beach. The governors weighed the pros and cons and decided to be hopeful. They are hopeful that the virus spreads less efficiently outside than inside. They are hopeful that we will follow the rules of social distancing. They are hopeful that we will stay home if we feel sick. They are hopeful that we will wear masks when we wait in line for beach badges.
If this all goes according to plan, our beaches can remain open. If we don’t all act like responsible citizens, I believe our beach privileges will be taken away. Like we do with our children- give us a little, see if we can handle the responsibility and then react accordingly.
Unfortunately, for both the governors and parents, the stakes are high. If all goes well, we are able to finally get outside, enjoy the beach and have a summer that resembles our summers past. If all does not go well, we see spikes in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
I don’t envy the governor’s decisions. But I can empathize with them. I feel like as a parent, and especially as a parent of two teenagers, we are about to enter a really hard summer of nearly constant decision making. We are going to weigh pros and cons daily if not hourly. What are the risks to saying yes to this plan or that one? Is it ok to go on a bike ride with one friend or to a backyard get together with five friends? What if the bikers aren’t wearing masks but the group in the backyard is? Does that change the answer? Is the risk of denying social teenagers time with their friends worse than the risk of contracting coronavirus?
Now I am wondering if I can get in on the tri-state governors group chat? Maybe we can navigate this upcoming summer together….