Yesterday The Beacon published an item about the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau’s proposal that this summer be called “The Summer of Glove,” and we illustrated it with the Bureau’s logo, which depicts two gloved hands forming a heart.
Underneath the logo’s heart are printed the words: Be Safe. Be Smart. Have Fun.
This same sentiment, or slogan, was displayed yesterday on a sign held aloft by a face-masked person at the Wright Memorial Bridge checkpoint. OBX Today took a photo of this sign holder and two others who were welcoming non-resident Dare County property owners back to the Outer Banks.
We asked you yesterday what you think of the Visitors Bureau’s SOG theme and logo, and no one commented. Today we will tell you what we think.
We think they are in poor taste.
We think they trivialize a very serious public-health threat that has already claimed the lives nationwide of 70,000 people and will claim the lives of tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—more before it is managed.
We think that if 85 percent of the people who were dying from COVID-19 were under age 50, instead of age 65 and over, no one on the Outer Banks would be exhorting vacationers to have fun during a worldwide pandemic.
Is the message of the logo, have fun, but be sure to wear gloves? Or are the gloves only on the health-care workers who are treating COVID-19 patients?
I wear protective gloves when I go into stores, but I never see other customers wearing them, just some store employees.
In short, we think “The Summer of Glove” is a tacky, witless, and embarrassing idea that should be scrapped.
If the Outer Banks Tourist Bureau wants to spin off of the hippies’ 1967 Summer of Love in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, we suggest it have “Another Summer of Love” and leave protective gloves and face masks out of it. Underneath a revised heart for “Another Summer” could appear the words: “Be Safe While You Enjoy the Beach.”
We all need fun in our lives, especially during times like we’re experiencing now. But we also need to understand that this summer the manner in which we have fun is going to be dramatically different. The Visitors Bureau’s witless “Summer of Glove” does not convey that message. It should be nixed.
A WORD ABOUT FACE MASKS AND CLOTH COVERINGS
The primary complaint that we hear from locals about out-of-towners is that they don’t face masks or other face coverings in grocery stores, as in: “I watched the people in the Harris Teeter parking lot, and no one driving a car with out-of-state license plates wore a mask into the store.”
Sound familiar? The implication is always that locals are being conscientious and responsible, and out-of-towners are not.
Our observation is that the majority of locals, as well as many visiting out-of-towners, do not wear masks or cover their faces in retail establishments.
For the record, we would like to state that the Dare County Stay Home-Stay Health emergency order requires people to wear masks or cloth face coverings in public settings “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
It is not an absolute requirement. There is discretion involved in deciding whether to wear a face covering. (The requirement is absolute, however, if you would like to enter the ABC Store.)
You no doubt have heard about the alleged murder in Flint, Michigan, of a Family Dollar security guard who refused to permit a woman to enter the store if she and her child were not wearing face masks. The woman left and returned with two adult male members of her family, one of whom allegedly shot and killed the guard.
When people complain to us about customers not wearing face masks and the need for police intervention to enforce mask wearing, we always speak of the potential for ill will that can escalate to rage and say it’s not worth a confrontation. We now, unfortunately, can point to Flint, Michigan.
We think wearing a face mask or cloth covering in public shows respect, concern, and empathy for others. Personally, I don’t want anyone to feel anxious near me because I have not taken protective measures. I want people to feel comfortable around me. But my judgments are only my own.
(Speaking of Harris Teeter, we learned Sunday that cashiers will not bag groceries in customers’ reusable bags because of the fear of coronavirus infection. The scientific jury is still out on whether the virus lives on cloth surfaces, but we strongly doubt it.
(Cloth is not typically a virus fomite: A fomite is an inanimate object that is capable of transmitting infection from one person to another. Of course, we pointed out to the cashier that gloves, which she was not wearing, would take care of any long-shot infection risk.)
KEY COVID-19 METRICS STATEWIDE INCREASE
Four hundred eight new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported to the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services over the past 24 hours, an increase of more than 120 percent over Monday’s case total, according to today’s NCDHHS dashboard.
The NCDHHS also reports that 5,361 laboratory tests were performed, making the percentage of positive tests in this test batch about 8 percent, up from 5 percent yesterday.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide also increased by 36, rising from 498 to 534.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 5/5/20