Tough decisions ahead for all of us

 Tough decisions ahead for all of us

 

With the reopening of our state beginning this week, it initially felt like some freedom was being restored to our lives. Local businesses are opening their doors, restaurants are returning to dine-in service and groups of 10 can gather. However, the reality is we all have tough decisions to make.

We must consider the potential health implications for ourselves and our families. We have to weigh risks and rewards carefully. Is the risk of going out and doing more worth a momentary reward? Is it time to risk it and go out, knowing you could still be exposed, increasing the number of COVID-19 cases in our county? For some, the health implications are not as severe; for others, contracting COVID-19 could be deadly.

As you make the tough health decisions, we ask you to continue to maintain social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands. We want all of our citizens to be as healthy as possible.

We must consider the financial implications for our families. Families are continuing to struggle financially with many community members still unemployed. Families are making tough decisions about what expenses they can cut from their budget and what must stay. All too often, we are seeing families forgo purchasing adequate amounts of food to pay their rent and other living expenses.

This week, the City of McPherson is hosting a community food drive. If you are able to donate non-perishable food or make a monetary donation, please do so. All donations will go to the McPherson County Food Bank to help those in need throughout our community.

Businesses in our county are in a difficult position. Many have been shuttered for weeks and those who remained open have experienced lower-than-average sales. Small local businesses are hurting. The reality is, not all of our local businesses will survive this type of economic disaster. They are facing tough decisions about how and when to open safely for their employees and customers. Many are tasked with making the tough decision of if they can afford to reopen at all.

In the coming weeks, support local businesses whenever possible. If you can shop in person safely, please do so. Purchase gift cards, make online purchases and utilize curbside pickup. Businesses are working hard to make shopping as easy and safe as possible for customers. Thank them by supporting them financially and with kindness.

Our city and county leaders are tasked with making decisions to benefit the whole, not just one particular group. Just like families are assessing their budgets, the city and county must assess theirs. Most cities are preparing for a 25 percent decrease in their budgets due to COVID-19. This means McPherson can expect to see a significant cut as well. Leaders will have to decide how to fill the void, what services to reduce, what staff to retain, and what “luxuries” are essential. The pool may not open, we may see projects put on hold, and hiring may freeze. We don’t know for sure yet what the implications will be, but there will be some, and those decisions will be tough.

In the coming weeks and months, engage with your community leaders. Attend meetings—they are all streamed live on Facebook. Ask questions, share your suggestions and keep the dialogue open. If there is a particular issue you are passionate about, speak up respectfully and voice your support. If you are pleased with a decision made during a tough time, share that as well. Our leaders are carrying a heavy load, balancing safety, finances and trying to keep the needs of many in the forefront. 

Our community may be reopening, but this is just the beginning of a difficult transition. Things are going to get worse before they get better. The true test is how we as a community handle making those tough decisions.

Be kind, be smart and stay safe. 

 

The McPherson News-Ledger Editorial Board