Just as each county/state/country is in a particular phase of re-opening their businesses, schools, and community organizations, so each family and individual is in a particular phase of re-opening. We all have our different levels of comfort with various protocols and understanding of what is appropriate for us. We can criticize others for not sharing our protocols or we can simply recognize that it is highly unlikely that each of us will be in the same place. So, for purposes of clarification, where are you? These are not ‘official’ categories, just reference points:
Phase 0 – LOCKDOWN – for medical or legal reasons, you are not exiting the four walls you currently inhabit under any circumstance.
Phase 1 – SHELTER IN PLACE – you only leave your home/residence for survival purposes e.g. work and occasional trips to the grocery store or doctor’s office; you don’t leave the house unless you absolutely have to.
Phase 2 – MINIMAL EXPOSURE – you go outside to exercise, frequent stores you are used to shopping at, and have a ‘pod’ of close friends you will allow on your doorstep but you avoid all restaurants and entertainment venues and any and all in-person meetings with persons for more than 5 – 10 minutes.
Phase 3 – ENGAGEMENT WITH CAUTION – you will eat at outdoor dining areas, attend socially distant gatherings of more than 2 people, and meet with friends or associates as long as proper distancing and masks are used by both parties; travel outside your region is not out of the question.
Phase 4 – FULL ENGAGEMENT UNDER PROTOCOL – as long as you have a mask on, you’ll go anywhere to any establishment, indoors or outdoors; you understand that the six foot distance rule is a goal but can’t always be kept in all circumstances; you engage friends/associates who are not regularly exposed and do so without masks or social distancing; you are perfectly willing to travel by airplane.
Phase 5 – BACK TO NORMAL – you feel the coronavirus is sufficiently curtailed such that you can engage friends, associates, establishments, and the general community as you did before the virus started.
Please do not use these categories to shame other people. Please do use them to understand where other people are emotionally, physically, and socially as we move through this pandemic. Practice Grace.