Taking pandemic precautions seriously will save small businesses

by Sarah Sorensen and Kristin Smith
| December 8, 2020 7:00 AM

Be smart. Be rational. Be considerate; and one could even argue … patriotic.

These are manners to be executed every day, but in this time of heightened anxiety, it’s more important than ever to do our part to keep ourselves and each other as safe as reasonably possible. “We’re only as strong as the weakest link.” The oft-quoted phrase, “We the People,” now takes on a new meaning. We need to look out for one another, because we are stronger together.

It is astounding that the recent divisive conversations are even occurring. This is a community that prides itself in its fortitude and independence, yes; but also, historically rallies for its neighbors in their times of personal crisis, displaying a depth of compassion for each other that often has been noted by travelers passing through. This is our community: a fellowship of folks that, at the end of the day, cares.

We also rally around the timber industry or mining industry when they ask for help in support of the economy, based on sound science. In consideration of that, we offer up that the health care industry should be no different — especially considering their mission is to help people.

Do our personal freedoms give us a right to purposefully make it more difficult for them to do their jobs, caring for our families, friends and neighbors? Is it worth alienating those trying to help us help ourselves? What happens to those relationships once the pandemic ends? Do you suppose we will all forget how we treated each other?

Let’s consider the bigger picture and how it affects us all. Venting frustration on folks who are merely following directives will not change the situation. It only invites bruised feelings, resentment and a fractured community. There isn’t much room to argue that the real enemy is COVID-19 — not each other.

We wholly support the efforts of our local health care teams and service agencies during this tumultuous time and will do our part to help curb the spread. Thank you for your continued diligence for our welfare.

Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. also thanks its patrons who value and respect the brewery and its staff by continuing to adhere to the state and local requirements and guidelines, as well as our in-house policies, aligned with CDC science-based recommendations and designed to keep all of us as safe as possible. We know that wearing masks is hot, uncomfortable and unstylish, to say the least. Our staff, exposed to guests from around our nation, has — like other businesses — endured wearing masks day after day for months in an effort to keep the public healthy. They simultaneously protect themselves and their families from potential exposures. To us, it is a minor inconvenience with big payoffs and the price we pay to stay in business.

For those of you who don’t have your life saving invested in a business, please consider the reality and impact of those who do. There are many sleepless nights as we contemplate the complexities and navigate the continued fallout from this horrendous and uncertain time and unknown future while we comply, compelled by our civic responsibility to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions. In the case of the brewery, where exposures from guests are a real threat, we take these risks to safely serve our community. We have to stay safe to stay open.

Consider: If local businesses close, perhaps permanently, as many now operate on razor-thin margins due to skyrocketing supply costs and can’t recover from the impact of closing and/or losing staff to illness and quarantine, we get to watch our fellow citizens and friends lose their jobs, not to mention those who are immune-compromised and have the potential to die if infected.

Unfortunately, like others, we have encountered occasional pushback at our establishment for the mandates designed to protect us all. Although we value others’ opinions, we must reach out to noncompliant folks whose inconveniences during this global event has perhaps been limited to the occasional lack of supplies, a reduction in their social scene and needing to wear masks at businesses that have a lot to lose from potential exposures. We truly hope that these are the worst consequences they experience. But please, we implore them and you, endeavor to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. That is our civic and patriotic duty.

This has been difficult for all of us in many different ways. We understand our local elected leaders’ frustrations as we feel them, too. We appreciate their consideration of alternate perspectives and the challenges that many small businesses and our health care professionals face during this unprecedented and evolving crisis.

As leaders, you hold the public’s trust to do what is best in the interest of the people you chose to serve. Thank you for your continued consideration of others, supporting your local healthcare professionals and advocating wearing a mask, washing your hands and heeding social distancing requirements.

Let’s get through this, together.