Editorial Roundup: Count to 10, omicron isn’t done with us yet

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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This week, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul reinstated indoor mask mandates.

Businesses everywhere are running short-staffed, The worker shortage not only isn’t getting better, it’s deepening as the workforce makes new decisions about how to and to whom to sell its product — skills, knowledge and effort — and for what price. And then there are the short-term staffing crises as illness and infection-control isolation periods take still more workers off the job temporarily.

We are nowhere near to emerging from the pandemic’s shadow, at least not in the new-year-fresh-start paradigm we all hoped to see.

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It’s frustrating on a personal, family, community and global level, because if the pandemic is about two years old, pandemic fatigue has been building for at least 18 of those 24 months. That’s about when store-aisle confrontations over masks starting going viral, followed by an explosion of violent incidents on airplanes, followed by a rise in I-want-to-speak-to-the-manager behavior documented coast to coast.

We’re not only saddened by the pandemic, angered by others’ responses to it and frustrated by it, we’re collectively worn out with it, even if good days outnumber bad ones in any individual life. We’re all over having to cope with the pandemic .

If only that mattered.

Omicron’s surge is clearly going to shift the landscape for all of us again in the short term (see: Twin Cities’ mask mandates). Businesses locally and regionally are reducing hours to manage staff fatigue and shortages. Schools are adjusting their calendars, too. Everyone organizing an event on the social or business calendar is reassessing daily whether the show will go on.

We are simply not in control of the biological imp that is causing all of the chaos. Being “so over it” doesn’t change that.

But we can be in control of getting through this next phase as a community. It takes some old-fashioned attention to what our grandmas would call good manners.

Is there a sign on the store window say masks are encouraged? Put one on or exercise your freedom to choose another store — much like visiting someone’s home, it’s their place, their rules. But has the management declined to post that sign? Then let the bare-faced go about their business without your opinion, or choose another store.

Did it take longer than usual to get your dinner order? Take a look around before escalating — there’s a big difference between a server who’s hustling hard to keep up and one who’s leaning in a corner texting a friend.

The chaos of the past two years isn’t done with us yet. There are more frustrations, changes of plans and debates about what to do about it ahead in the coming weeks. How we handle those frustrations will make the situation either better … or worse.

When in doubt, we can choose to act with grace. We can decide to not make the day worse. We can choose to support businesses and organizations whose values align with our own and we can choose to simply avoid those that don’t — without centering those opinions loudly in every encounter.

We can, and should, do our best to keep our cool, make good decisions, show patience in the face of frustrations and assume everyone is doing their best until proven otherwise.

Count to 10. It’s not over yet.

St. Cloud Times, Jan. 9

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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