I’ve been thinking on and off about this recently, because it’s become such a crucial factor in all our own lives. All of us are making a thousand micro-decisions everyday about things we used to do unconsciously. Stop for coffee. Get gas. Go to work. Send in a show entry. Visit friends and family.
One of the hardest things has been that we are all of us making these decisions based on highly individualized factors. We have to take into account our own personal concerns (based on both our physical and mental health for the day), our immediate communities (town, county) and larger communities (state and ultimately country). We have to maintain a mental database of all the different factors about what used to be somewhat homogenized experiences.
For example: which grocery store do I visit? For me, there are four places that, pre-COVID, I used to visit with some regularity. Each offered a different angle on products, different sales, and each one had at least one item that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I’d make decisions each week based on what I needed, wanted, where I was working or traveling on a given day, and just…go buy the groceries.
Now, I only go to two of them, and I plan my visits carefully. Standard shopping is done at only one store because I know people that work there and trust them, have observed good behavior from the majority of employees (around masks, cleaning, distancing, etc.), have gone often enough to know what times are less busy, and have observed a rate higher than 90% of mask-wearing among customers. The other store I go to is the co-op, which has even higher standards on all of those things, but is further away and was always an occasional visit; now that I am in that neighboring town less due to working from home, I go maybe once a month.
There are some things that I feel pretty darn safe about doing (going to the barn, going into my office) because I am either almost always alone or the rules are very firm and well-observed by everyone involved. There are other places I’ve declared no-go zones (a few downtown stores, any kind of dining). There are places I have to go but make me uncomfortable the whole time. (Zero employee mask usage at the tile place, but I had to have a shower, so…)
What are factors that make you feel safe or unsafe in a place? I’m talking a bit less about “well, whatever the local/state/national government has required” and more about the intangibles of places that work to create a safe and welcoming space within COVID structures. (An example: our state rules on gyms are a good base, but my CrossFit gym goes waaaaaaaay above and beyond, and verbally emphasizes the rules repeatedly during workouts, coaches set an example in cleaning and wearing masks, cleaning stuff is readily available without having to ask for it, all communications language is upbeat but firm about what they’re doing.)
Is there something your barn or a show venue has done that has made you feel more confident, or less confident? I’d be curious in building a list of “best practices” as it were. I’ll add my own list in the comments.