It was never supposed to last this long

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial

As our newsroom shifted into COVID-19 coverage a year ago when news broke of the first confirmed case in the state on Friday, March 13, 2020, we went from newsroom meeting to nothing but coronavirus.

At that point in time, however, businesses were closing for a few days, schools announced closures for a week and high school sports and other events were just delayed.

It became clear pretty quick that those delays were going to last more than a week, but early in the battle against COVID-19, we wondered if we could get back to school and sports shortly after spring break and finish out the year.

That, however, changed when schools closed for the year and moved to remote learning, while graduation ceremonies were then delayed. At that point, businesses were shut down and the state was under a full lockdown.

Yet, somehow, we still thought the virus would end during the summer.

None of us imagined a year later that this would still be a problem. Yet, here we sit, still battling the virus.

In a recent poll done by us, 76 percent of people in Shelby County said they didn’t think the virus would still have us under restrictions one year after it started.

But one reason we are is because we finally learned to coexist with COVID-19 in our daily lives.

While the battle against COVID-19 was never supposed to last this long, the restrictions are as light as they have been arguably since the first day of the first case.

Businesses are open and restaurants can now even seat at full capacity and soon, businesses will be able to control their own limitations when the mask order is officially canceled on April 9.

We’ve gradually taken steps, and aside from shutting businesses down early in the battle, we’ve probably made the right calls. We gave parents the option of whether their children attended school in person, we kept a mask order in place, businesses were allowed to open for seating at limited capacity, sports were allowed to be played in what felt as close to normal as you could have asked for and we were able to go back to living our lives after being forced into our homes for two months last year.

The path back to normal has taken longer than we expected it to, but it now seems to be paying off. We took a slow path because it meant we got some semblance of normalcy with small sacrifices.

Now, with numbers as good as they have been since last May and the mask order set to expire, we’re headed back to our old version of normal with no sacrifices—as long as we use our brains.