I spent some time in St. Paul restaurants through the weekend, trying to get a sense of initial impacts from vaccine mandates. Some restaurants are checking cards; others have closed inside dining. All I visited checked my vaccine status at the door (I use the Docket app for ease). In the immediate term, business is down across the board. All I spoke to reported significant reservation cancellations, one along West 7th reported business down by 75% over the weekend. The good news is that patrons generally are being gracious with the process. I have taken a few calls from individuals who tell me that, given the new mandate, they are more willing to come downtown. Thus far, the numbers haven’t borne that out. I do like what Tim Niver of Saint Dinette said: “Mandates aren’t here to help business. They’re here to help people…if you have your vax card, just come eat.” Though he, too, confirms that business has remained down.
Meanwhile, issues of public safety and increased crime continue to be a very real, very deep concern.
The entire community is weary and wary. How much more of this is ahead, we all wonder?
We persevere, but we are very, very tired. And we all are on the edge. I hear it in the tone people are using with one another, the tension and anger that is bubbling just below the surface, the divisive language and ugly accusations being thrown against people who disagree on any of the serious the issues of the day….
These last two years of will-it-ever-end-COVID-19 coupled with very serious concerns of public safety have upended our lives. Completely. And we’re still all over the place in terms of our experience/opinions of both. It’s messy and lonely. May I offer one thought for all of us to hold onto? Kindness, people. Speak kindly, think kindly, behave kindly. Now more than ever are we called to a higher standard. We can disagree; absolutely. But let’s do so with comity.
When I need to calm my own mind, I turn to Mahatma Gandhi. And he tells us that, “when I despair, I remember that all throughout history… there have been tyrants and murderers and, for a time, they can seem invincible; but, in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.” That sounds like a pandemic to me.
See you in the trenches.
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