Elected Officials Should Model Desired Behavior During Times Of Emergency

We can’t control what our neighbor does, but we can control what we do.

Currently, we’re being encouraged to adjust our lifestyle by practicing social distancing. The practice is being urged by medical professionals to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and not overwhelm the limited number of space in ICUs. This is a major disruption to life, and it’s impact to the global economy will likely outlast the medical impact. We will see this through.

Governor Brian Kemp has urged the faith community to suspend in-person services and move to services that are streamed online. The infection rate in Georgia has been going up and will likely continue to go up. He understands the challenges some congregations face, but he also understands the reality if nothing is done to help curb the spread of the disease.

What is concerning to me though are the number of elected officials who don’t appear to be taking the current situation seriously. I’m sure they say that they understand the severity of what we are currently experiencing, but actions speak louder than words.

One case is Dalton Mayor David Pennington who, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen, is still dining in at local restaurants though some cities across Georgia are beginning to shut down restaurants’ dine-in service in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19:

Dalton Mayor David Pennington said he still dines out and is disappointed to see so few people.

“I was at (Cyra’s) Tuesday, took some city people down there,” he said. “We were the only people in the restaurant. I go to the Oakwood every morning. Normally, there’s a bunch of people on the side I sit on. Now, I’m the only one on that side. This is hysteria. I don’t deny that vulnerable people need to self-quarantine — the elderly, people with heath conditions. but the rest of us don’t.”

Yes, it’s good to support local business in these uncertain economic times, but there are avenues to do that without going out and risk the spread of the disease. Many small businesses are adapting to the situation and offer either curbside pickup or delivery services in order to accommodate social distancing and limiting exposure.

If elected officials aren’t going to model desired behavior, then we can’t really expect citizens to what is being requested. I don’t believe this is hysteria. I do believe we could have this get out of control very quickly if we don’t do what we can to limit contact with others and practicing good hygiene. Thank you to those elected officials who are taking this seriously and are taking steps to make sure that they don’t spread COVID-19.

I still believe this is the best thing to keep in mind while we are under this state of emergency:

Assume you have it; assume everyone else has it; act accordingly.

And wash your hands.


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