I’m tired of COVID-19. I’m sick of the daily news reports,sick of the social media fights, exhausted with masks and fogged glasses and trying not to touch public surfaces (and then my face). And I’m frustrated with not knowing what the new rules should be—is it okay to see my family, attend a funeral, visit a sick relative? And the longer this goes on, the harder I find it to stay diligent.
And then this week just as I felt my resolve waning, my family and I were served up a strong reminder of how important our diligence is: now my adult son has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
This isn’t like a hurricane or wild fire or other natural disaster you can see coming, and then it hits and is over. This crisis goes on and on, month after month, until we have a cure,a treatment, or everyone develops immunity.
I’d like you to imagine our world when we do have a vaccine, when this is all behind us and we can go back to hugging friends, shaking hands, attending church, and going to a theme park. Now imagine what you would want your community, your industry to say about IGA.
I know what I don’t want to see in a news report—that IGA stores got tired, relaxed their guard, stopped wearing masks and cleaning carts and all the other extra stuff we have to do. And that a bunch of shoppers got sick. And some died.
I never want to see that in a news article or Facebook post. I know you never want to hear that about another IGA store, and certainly not about your own. We really have no other choice. Diligence is our only weapon.
Which means that we all have to stay focused. We have to burrow through the boredom and keep doing what we have been doing: wiping down carts, sanitizing surfaces, and yes, wearing face masks.
There is nothing worse than having to fight shoppers who think COVID is a hoax; I know it is miserable to have to run around telling your associates to put their masks on (or wear them correctly).
I’ve been traveling to grocery stores (by car) all through the South. I can tell you I am more and more proud of IGA stores. By and large, our community stores are doing better protecting their communities than any stores I've seen. I see big chains with sloppy discipline, associates wearing masks around their necks or not at all, missing signs about social distancing, and I think, "Do they not care about the safety of their associates or their customers?"
We use the phrase Hometown Proud because it is true. That phrase needs to be Hometown Safe, too. Keep up the good work that you're already doing, and remain diligent. It will pay off, I promise.