Steaks, salons and state parks: Thoughts on reopening

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 6/3/20

Hey Colorado, things are incrementally opening back up! While it might seem like a year ago, in reality, it is more like 2½ months since we have had the opportunity to go to a dine-in restaurant and …

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Steaks, salons and state parks: Thoughts on reopening

Posted

Hey Colorado, things are incrementally opening back up! While it might seem like a year ago, in reality, it is more like 2½ months since we have had the opportunity to go to a dine-in restaurant and have a good steak and baked potato.

While I am tired of so many meals at home with a few take-out dinners, I am somewhat reticent about eating at a restaurant. Regardless, we will look forward to eating out and hope that all of our favorite places survived.

What are your thoughts on returning to eating out now that the virus has left its mark?

New norms are unfolding

While we still have a journey to realize the full new normal — whatever that might be — we are making progress on the road to reopening. Notice that I did not say “recovery”. I’m afraid recovery is a much longer and more challenging journey and of course will vary among businesses, schools, sporting events, retailers, governmental services, churches, entertainment, tourism, travel and many other categories.

Let’s recount where Colorado stood as of May 27th: Non-essential businesses and retailers are open for business if they so choose. It somewhat surprises me that more businesses and retailers have not opened their doors yet. In addition, the Coronavirus has taken a toll on some businesses as they have declared permanent closure or filed for bankruptcy. J.C. Penney’s, Pier 1, Nordstrom’s, Lord and Taylor and Sweet Tomatoes restaurant chain come to mind.

Restaurants and bars which serve food or arrange for a food truck are now open if they so choose. Golf courses are back open and flourishing. Hotels and motels are coming back while some folks are thinking again about travelling. My preference for the time being will be “road trips” avoiding air travel. There is so much to see in our own state and region to keep us entertained and on the go.

More pieces to the puzzle of our future

Thank goodness barbershops and hair salons recently were able to reopen. Governor Polis recently announced that summer day camps could open which I am sure gave parents a big sigh of relief.

Now, we need recreation centers, fitness centers, libraries and movie theatres to be able to open. However, we learned that movie theatre chains weren’t on real solid financial ground before the virus and now there is speculation that movies streaming live, like on Netflix and other streaming services, will be the death knell for the movie theaters.

It’s a shame that we won’t have the benefit of Water World this summer both from the standpoint of entertainment and relaxation, but also the loss of approximately 1,000 summer jobs for youth.

One of the things which the virus has brought back wherever they still exist is drive-in movie theatres. I wish we still had one or more to enjoy. I can remember three in the Westminster/Thornton/Broomfield area many years ago.

Our great outdoors is critical to Colorado’s recovery

Given all of the benefits of being outdoors in Colorado, it is a time for celebrating that our state parks are now open and our national parks like Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde and the Great Sand Dunes are phasing in their opening.

Hiking, fishing and camping in our beautiful outdoors are a reality again. These park openings will give a much needed shot in the arm for such Colorado communities as Estes Park, Alamosa, Pagosa Springs, Cortez and Durango.

Next up will likely be professional sports doing some type of an abbreviated season. The National Hockey League is going right into a 24 team playoff format. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball and its player union are still trying to work out details to playing a half of season (81 games) starting on the Fourth of July (that seems fitting).

Oh, did I mention there will NOT be any fans in the arenas or stadiums? At least we can watch on television! And let’s not forget that the State Legislature is back in session and Arapahoe Basin even opened for spring skiing.

Don’t let scofflaws dissuade you

There’s more that I could recite, but you can appreciate the point that I am making.

We are little by little seeing the new normal take shape with each executive order from the governor or public health agency.

Needless to say, all of these reopened places and spaces require wearing your facial covering, keeping social distancing and perhaps getting a body temperature check in selected situations.

While the usual 5% of the population ignore the concept of “the greater good” and refuse to follow the rules, the rest of us will comply. Recent incidents showing crowded beaches in Florida and California and even crowded conditions along Boulder Creek here in Colorado can’t help but make you wonder about how people think (or maybe they don’t think or care). Perseverance is the key.

In the long run, we will get through this together!!

Special memorial day experiences

While it is fresh in my mind, I want to comment on a couple of activities which took place in conjunction with Memorial Day. Unfortunately, many local outdoor commemorative events which normally draw crowds of people had to be curtailed to honor our fallen military heroes.

However, two televised events really struck me. First, was highlighting the playing of taps all across America at 3 p.m.on Memorial Day on the CBS Nightly News. Thousands of brass players performed the 24 note sobering music to honor American fallen heroes. It was played in a plethora of different venues “from sea to shining sea.” It truly moved my soul.

Then Channel 9 with Gary Sharipo narrated an excellent piece commemorating the purpose of this special day. We need these poignant reminders to stop and remember the real purpose of such holidays. It isn’t cooking the hot dogs or playing the round of golf or a pickup game of whiffle ball in the backyard. It’s honoring our military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice to assure our freedom.

Perhaps a Westminster focus on Memorial Day 2021?

As a suggestion to the City of Westminster leadership, perhaps for next year your expanded public information/ public relations personnel could produce a video about the purpose and activities that embrace Memorial Day. While Westminster does have the ceremony at the Armed Forces Tribute Garden which is always done in a class manner, many more people would have the opportunity to view a locally produced video.

Since the city administration previously ramped up with more personnel including a full-time videographer, a focus on the holiday and its connection to Westminster would be a meaningful piece.

Anyway, it’s something to ponder.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media. You can contact him at bcjayhawk68@gmail.com.

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