Dear Ambush Nation,
Two steps forward and one step back seems to be the path we are on as both a state and country in terms of our response to COVID-19. Here in Louisiana, and in New Orleans in particular, we have done a good job of flattening the curve and stopping the spread of coronavirus. But as time has passed and we have begun to ease restrictions, cases have begun to spike. And with an increase in cases, the Governor and Mayor have taken action.
The most recent changes have come from Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration which is now making it mandatory to wear a mask in public statewide, with few exceptions. They have also basically closed all bars by only allowing bars to do curbside service and not allowing patrons inside the building. This makes it almost impossible for most places to operate much less turn a profit. As we move forward we all need to be vigilant in following the restrictions so that we may get back to “normal” sometime soon.
The world is a different place and we need to be aware of this fact when we interact with others. As someone who had a bad case of COVID-19, I’m especially aware of my space and surroundings when I’m in public and in the presence of other people. I don’t want anyone to get what I had, as it is both scary and could be deadly. Please wear a mask! It may be a good idea to have several masks. I keep one in my truck at all times. I keep one by my keys so when I leave the house I make sure I grab my mask and take it with me. Health experts agree that wearing a mask is the best thing we can do to stop the spread along with social distancing.
I know this can sometimes be difficult. We see friends or family and we want to hug and kiss like we did in the good ole days (and by good ole days I’m talking about February 2020). But let each of us be mindful of people’s personal space. Several times I’ve been at Betty’s Bar & Bistro and people come up and say “Hi” wearing a mask, but then they want to come in and give you a hug. In this world giving hugs is just not the smartest thing to do.
Bars have become ground zero for spreading the virus. And it makes sense when you really think about it. People drink at bars and some of those people get inebriated. At that point, you no longer social distance. You take off your mask to drink then you’re talking above the music. It can be difficult at most bars to socially distance yourself from others. Bars are designed for people to mingle and be social. So while we encourage people to support LGBTQ-owned businesses, we want you to be responsible at the same time.
As most of you know, I had a really bad experience with COVID-19 in March. I had a fever for 11 days that wouldn’t break and towards the end I was having difficulty breathing. It’s quite scary when you can’t take in a full breath of air. That’s why I want you all to wear masks, wash your hands, and do your best to be socially distant.
I also encourage you to take the time to reach out to friends and family and make sure they are okay and have some social interaction, even if it’s over the phone. We will get through this, it will just take some time. I look forward to a time when we can all hug each other and drink together and party like it’s 1999. Until then, be safe!