Sunshine and warm weather is finally happening but hot girl summer with the squad is still somewhat canceled.

Illinois is under a stay-at-home order until the end of May with some small changes made. The changes are a little bit more relaxed but still require social distancing, face masks and curbside pickup only.

As the weather begins to warm, people are less likely to follow the rules of distancing and hold large group gatherings. Humans are creatures who depend on social interaction. With the mental and physical aspect of social distancing taking its toll on many of us, we all long to get back to our normal lives as soon as possible.

But going back to our normal lives, especially way too early, can undo everything that we have worked hard for the past month and a half to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our new normal is around to stay until a treatment and a vaccine is available.

Our new normal is going to be physically and mentally draining. It’ll be easy to give up and want to revert back to our old ways of baseball filled stadiums, Fourth of July barbecues and birthday parties.

But we can not go back to putting ourselves in the path of this virus until it is deemed safe too.

Our essential workers are still providing medical attention, keeping cities safe, providing transportation, providing childcare to other essential workers, stocking the shelves for us to buy groceries, or delivering mail while the majority of us work from the safety of our homes.

Essential workers don’t get the option of staying home and out of the line of fire.

Jobs that can’t be worked from home must go on even when the rest of the world comes to a standstill. Let’s do our essential workers a favor and continue to social distance and wear face masks to help slow the spread.

Starting in May, face masks are required to be worn in public places where it isn’t easy to stay 6 feet or further apart. Face masks might be uncomfortable and annoying to wear, but it provides a barrier of having a low probability of falling ill. When going to pick up food, groceries or going for a walk on a busy sidewalk, a mask is to prevent getting ourselves or someone else sick.

Something as simple as a face mask is all it takes to help slow the spread when out and about.

As Illinois reaches its peak in this upcoming week or so, and we start to see the curve plateau and flatten. It will be easy to look at the data and want to start holding big gatherings and returning to big games or concerts. But loosening the restrictions too much and too early will cause greater harm than good.

The next few months that lie ahead, let alone next year, will be tough and frustrating. Preventative steps such as social distancing or having classes go back and forth from in person to online is going to be annoying and mentally draining.

Reopening the entire state, let alone the country too early without preventive measures in place will undo all the work that has been put in that helped slow the spread.

Going another month of staying at home sounds awful; we all have cabin fever. But the less lives that are lost and the less people who experience the virus, the better off we all are. Our efforts are not going to waste.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with CNN, “Death is still the ultimate problem in life that we can’t fix. Anything else we can fix.” The economy can be fixed. Our day-to-day normal, social life will return at some point. We will return to baseball field stadiums, big birthday bashes and music concerts. But we can not bring back those we lose.

Our efforts of staying home helped Illinois prevent deaths from happening and hospitals from being overwhelmed. Loosening restrictions is a step in the right direction but we all need to be prepared for the future, and hopefully not as detrimental, outbreaks in the future.

It’s felt like three years since this all began in late February, but we have come a long way and worked together that helped slow the spread.

For now, hang tight and continue to follow the guidelines that have been put in place to help combat the virus. It’s going to be a slow process, but just like the turtle and rabbit racing, slow and steady wins the race.

GRACE KINNICUTT is a Feautres Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at Follow her on Twitter at @GKinnicutt 

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