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The Ticker

The student news site of Baruch

The Ticker

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Taking social distancing seriously

On March 15, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City public schools will be stopping in-person sessions and transitioning to online distant learning. On that same night, an announcement was made that nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues must all close. Additionally, restaurants, bars and cafes will be limited to take-out only and delivery only.

The week after, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced an executive order that “all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22,” according to a press release from the governor’s website. The order shut down businesses such as gyms and salons, and forced other businesses’ employees to work from home.

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and especially in New York these are fantastic steps to take to ensure that people follow through with the suggested social distancing guidelines. The issue arises, however, when people are not heeding public warnings about gathering in groups, no matter how small, and are not practicing social distancing. Children are not in school, and many of them, especially the younger ones, do not realize the severity of the situation. They are all going outside into public places and doing the exact opposite of what is trying to be accomplished. 

As the weather becomes warmer, dozens of people are sitting on the grass and socializing in places such as Prospect Park in defiance of social distancing guidelines. Going outside to walk and exercise is fine, as usually that is an individual activity and a person is not near others. However, people who are sitting on blankets together, with a few inches of space between them, are making no effort to minimize physical contact.

It is clear that more needs to be done by New York legislators in order to combat this defiance. Safety and health are supposedly the top priority, and yet, millions continue to be exposed to the virus because not enough enforcement is being done.

People are not listening. They are selfish and do not realize the reprucssions of their actions. Many people are still making claims that they are not concerned about the coronavirus because they’re healthy and will be able to fight it off. Other people are going into stores and stockpiling on toilet paper and canned beans for the next five years. Both types of people are selfish and do not care about their community and loved ones being safe and healthy, but only about themselves and what till be best for them in the present.

There are people out there that do not have the same luxuries. The ones that are most susceptible to the coronavirus are elderly or those that already have some kind of pre-existing condition and a weakened immune system as a result, such as diabetics or cancer patients. Now, even the young and healthy are now reporting symptoms of COVID-19, so the disease does not discriminate. Additionally, people that live  paycheck to paycheck don’t have the luxury to go and bulk buy for months in advance; they rely on being able to buy whatever they need as income becomes available. Cleaning out shelves or acting unbothered are dangerous mentalities that will only divide people more.

Now is the time for people to take a step back and stop caring about only their well-being, and focus on society as a whole. People going out to public places is irresponsible and puts those that have to be there, such as park and sanitation workers, more at risk. Not everyone has the same freedom as others. Not everyone has the ability to work from home or to move to an online-only environment.

New York City has already done so much to help with the spread, but so much is still not enough. If the intention is to create as little movement throughout the five boroughs as possible, then public places need to be shut down, at least for the time being.

People need to become accountable for their own actions and realize that the situation is a lot more serious than they want to believe. Society needs to take collectivistic steps to bounce back and become united once again. 

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