Remember back in March 2020 when the State of Maine basically shut down to "flatten the curve"? The thought initially was that 2 weeks of pain would allow us to get back to "normal". Now 62 weeks later the mask mandate (not in schools) will be lifted effective May 24, 2021, and the "need" to remain socially distant is being lifted.

As of May  23, 2021 there were 66,979 cases of COVID-19 in the State of Maine, with 1978 hospitalizations and 820 deaths. There are currently 118 Mainers hospitalized with COVID, 44 in the ICU and 18 on ventilators. 672,606 (50.04%) Mainers have received their final vaccine.

So Monday, May 24th is the day we've all been waiting for right? So why is it that I feel conflicted? I want things to open up! I want kids to be taught 5 days a week! I want to see people smile! I want to hug people! I want to never hear the words "pods", or "cohorts" again. I want to be able to walk up and down whatever aisle in the grocery store I want to go, and not have to worry about following the arrows. I am so tired of all the fighting. I am so tired of people going on social media to complain about businesses. I am so tired of all the keyboard warriors.

But at the same time, I know I have not had even a cold in over a year. I want people to be safe. I am personally concerned about the children in our schools who seem to be exposed to the virus. I am concerned about the welfare of the teachers. I am concerned about those who refuse to be vaccinated. I am concerned about those who can't receive the vaccine for medial reasons. I am concerned about the elderly who are scared to be out in public. I am concerned about the people who want to continue wearing a mask and how many times will they hear "Why are you still wearing a mask? Don't you know you don't have to wear them anymore?" I am concerned about rather than uniting, this will further divide.

So what now? Be kind! Be respectful of people's boundaries. Everyone on May 24th is going to be at a different comfort level. Your comfort level doesn't trump someone else's comfort level. If you're comfortable going without a mask, do it. If you're comfortable wearing a mask still, do it. Don't criticize someone's decisions. Whether you wear a mask or you are going without, SMILE! We have missed your smile!