Let’s Phase (3) Facts

Tyler McNamara, Staff Writer

When COVID-19 hit the United States, it’s safe to say that our country wasn’t fully prepared for the impact the virus would have. As a result of this, Florida was sent into lockdown in early April and that lockdown period lasted until May. Unfortunately for Floridians, that month was not enough to have much of an effect on the spread of COVID. Cases had been steadily rising since late March and there was a massive uptick in the summer months of June and July. In September, when daily cases were still in the thousands, Governor Ron Desantis made the decision to initiate Phase 3 reopening in the state of Florida. Essentially, this means that the state’s restrictions/limits on public gatherings were to be lifted. As one might imagine, this caused quite the stir.

Some people have been affected more directly by this move towards reopening than others, such as those involved in small business. Senior Andres Garcia, whose father runs the local El Potro Mexican Restaurant, provided some insight on how such a place has been impacted by the virus and the subsequent reopening efforts. “Since the beginning of the spring, we took a massive hit because we were forced to close dine-in.” He went on to say that “the delivery services came to our rescue, but, at the same time, took away a percentage of our sales.” Clearly, the lockdown situation was not ideal for restaurants, which is likely why Andres says that reopening efforts have been good for business. However, it seems that the current situation is a double-edged sword. He says that the lessened restrictions of Phase 3 can be “risky, since more people are allowed to sit inside” due to the increased capacity for restaurants. Andres told The Blue and White that this means that “in the event that the restaurant gets busy, we sometimes are not able to follow the rule. However, we do notify guests since it’s an inherent risk for all of us.”

To find out how the Phase 3 reopening has affected people, The Blue and White decided to talk to, well, people! It is, of course, vitally important to hear differing perspectives about potentially polarizing topics, which is why that is exactly what is going to happen in this article. Senior Brooke Stewart, for example, raised some valid concerns, stating that she likes “that we are going in the right direction with opening new things in Florida, but I am still worried that it will cause more cases to arise and cause the decline in cases that has been happening to be ruined.” Unfortunately, this does indeed seem to be the case (no pun intended). Since Phase 3 was initiated, there have been far too many days where the number of people contracting the virus has increased well beyond 2,000.

On that note, Mrs. Brennan, one of Apopka High School’s resident AVID teachers, shed some light on what she believes to be the reasoning behind the decisions that have led Florida to this point. . ”I think lawmakers are in an incredibly difficult bind. They have to ensure that our citizens are able to maintain a healthy living, while keeping our population safe from COVID.” This is undoubtedly the intention behind the push for Phase 3 reopening, but was it too early to make such a big decision? Mrs. Brennan had this to say: “I think we need to be careful about thinking that COVID has dissipated. According to many experts who know more about infectious disease than I do, we are headed for the most difficult part of this pandemic yet. We cannot become complacent and we cannot assume that the worst is behind us. Unfortunately, I believe it lies ahead.”

While there are certainly many people who have resorted to either hopeful optimism or complete denial, it must be said that disregarding the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic is a danger in and of itself. Rather than capping off this article with a cheesy outro, it seems more appropriate to end it with a rather profound quote that came about as a result of The Blue and White’s interview with Mrs. Brennan. “It is understandable for people to disagree about what to do in a pandemic. We all have very different perspectives, but I think we should use our differences to analyze the best solutions instead of letting them divide us. Evaluating a situation from multiple angles is wise, but believing your opinion is the only right one is wrong. There is no growth or development in that.”