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Hopefully, following the guidelines in place for this first phase will result in approval to move forward to the second phase of reopening

Friday was a seemingly perfect day for Crook County to get the greenlight from the state to start reopening the economy. It was the type of sunny, comfortably warm day with just a hint of breeze that inspires people to get out of the house and enjoy a day in town. It was the last day of the week leading into a weekend where summer feels like it's right around the corner.

Nobody would blame people for rushing back out in droves like kids hurriedly leaving the house after the rain finally stopped and sun returned to warm the air. Businesses are open again! Awesome! Let's go!

But, of course, that reopening comes with a few strings attached. As our parents used to say, hold your horses. This is a limited reopening and we need to remember that as we begin a return to normal life – or as normal as it can be after this pandemic.

Restaurants are open, but the staff is wearing masks, tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart, parties are limited to 10 people, menus must be sanitized between customers – you get the idea. You can go get your hair done but be prepared to provide contact information. Have fun at the bar – but you have to sit at a table and you can't stay past 10 p.m.

And let's not forget that the pandemic has caused the cancelation of the Crooked River Roundup's rodeo and races, and all the traditional activities that accompany it, like the street party and parade.

As part of his announcement that the state approved Crook County's plan to begin reopening the economy, Judge Seth Crawford acknowledged that people are likely frustrated with the guidelines. But he urged people to follow them in an effort to enjoy freedom from some or all those restrictions in the future. We need to do it this way in order to keep businesses open and keep people safe.

It's not the popular thing to say. In a way it dampens the good news that businesses are reopening, but right now, it is the right advice and people in this community need to follow it. After all, when we watched all these businesses close and agreed to stay home more often and practice social distancing, it finally helped us reach this point. And hopefully, following the guidelines in place for this first phase will result in approval to move forward to the second phase of reopening. So far, little is known about that second phase, but we do know that if Crook County sees no setbacks, the community is eligible for that phase by June 5.

So, enjoy some of those restaurants or parks that you haven't visited for the past couple of months. But stay within the guidelines and keep moving this reopening effort forward. Hopefully, the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel isn't all that far away.


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