02940: Letting Your Guards Down

The Former Early Night

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 308

Every time I step out for errands, I try to keep an eye out for which establishments are still open and which ones may have closed permanently. Today's big discovery was that Early Night, a popular hangout for the younger crowd, has closed. I didn't look for a formal notice of closure or anything, but once you see the signage of the building has been taken down, that's a pretty clear indication things have turned south.

I've seen a number of businesses close their doors over the course of the past year. The extended community quarantine has been a significant challenge for everyone and with a lot of businesses like bars unable to operate at all, it's understandable that many have decided to cut their losses and just close their businesses.

We've been dealing with COVID-19 for about a year now and things remain largely the same if not worse. Our new case counts in recent days have been crossing the 2k mark again, which reflects our testing numbers being back at pre-holiday capacity. We can attribute some of the higher numbers to some of the social activities over the holidays, but part of it is also just because the testing centers weren't all open during the holiday period and probably built up a bit of a backlog again.

Leaving the Sietch for errands is always a rather stressful activity. More and more we see people who have relaxed their guards when it comes to the special hygiene precautions needed to continue to fight this pandemic. Sure the government requires face shields in addition to face masks, but I doubt those shields are effective when raised and worn more like sun visors than shields. Add in the fact that mask usage is not perfect either with so many noses peeking past the protection the masks are supposed to offer.

And it doesn't help that I see contacts on social media who have organized little mass gatherings of their own with a seeming wanton disregard of the minimum health standards. It's frustrating and I keep telling myself that we just have to accept that everyone has a different assessment of the risks involved. But really, it's hard to do so. It feels like their irresponsibility is almost like a personal affront. Knowing that people you know, even if they aren't close friends, are potentially contributing to the continued virulence of COVID-19 in the country just gets me so upset.

But we can only do so much. We protect those closest to us and remain focused on that. We hold strong and remain responsible. Then we see how things go moving forward.