Small things changing in daily life; smile with your eyes

Aside from the obvious, the shelter in place order many are subjected to will subtly change our lives.  

For instance, while shopping during the special senior hours at the Island Pacific grocery store on Elk Grove-Florin Road in Elk Grove this morning, clear plastic sneeze guards were installed to protect employees. The installation of the guards is a wise move for the health and welfare of employees on the front line.

Although retailers Walmart, Albertsons, Kroger, and Whole Foods announced they too will install sneeze guards, as far as we can see in our limited visits to grocers in recent days in Elk Grove, Island Pacific is the first that took the protective step.

Once the pandemic is under control,  I suspect they will become permanent fixtures at almost every cashier station. We are not sure what the societal implication will be other than it will further separate people even if it is a transparent barrier.

Another effect of the shelter in place order has been to hurt print publications. Last week the well-regarded alternate weekly Sacramento News & Review said it would have to suspend its print publication.

Even before the recent COVID19 events, the Sacramento Bee's parent corporation filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although they face a host of challenges, not the least of which is the immediate disappearance of print advertising revenues, to their credit, the Bee, as a public service during the pandemic crisis, has disabled their paywall.

Closer to home, Elk Grove's official newspaper of record, the Elk Grove Citizen, is undoubtedly facing declining print advertising revenues. Today's print edition is 12 pages with about one full-page of display advertising, about a half-page of classifieds, and less than a full-page of legal notices.

We hope all three publications survive. More competition within the media landscape and reporting on government are essential to a functioning democracy.

And finally, we must comment on the President's insistence on the name - which we will not use here - to identify the COVID19 pandemic. Please, especially here in our diverse community we call Elk Grove, do not follow Mr. Trump's lead.

As has been reported in recent days, some people of Asian descent have faced social intimidation. This is unacceptable. 

Unlike President George W. Bush, who implored tolerance in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, Trump is unabashedly stoking hatred. Please do not use his terminology  

On a personal note, when making early morning shopping trips this week to places other than Island Pacific, with my life-companion, who is of Asian descent, it seemed we had a few suspicious looks directed our way. To be fair, we can't say with any degree of certainty why we encountered these looks and hope there is just a growing general paranoia given the social distancing directives.

We hope this is a temporary sign of the times. Regardless, even if you are behind a mask, smile with your eyes and please don't use Trump's characterization of the virus. 

Dan Gougherty

Elk Grove News has temporarily disabled our paywall on current stories. 
Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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