Won't be like it was
I don't think that businesses, churches, and other organizations have given enough thought to the long-term impact of the current pandemic. I'm a retired marketing researcher. It's been my experience that when the public's deprived of something or someplace that has been a regular feature in their lives, they will search for, and usually find, an acceptable alternative.
Once the original thing or place again becomes available, they are faced with a choice: "Do I go back to what I was originally doing or do I stay with the now-acceptable alternative?" As businesses, churches, and other organizations have reopened, only a percentage of the pre-pandemic crowd has thus far returned. I think that a percentage of these people will never return. The impact on commercial sales and income and/or contributions is something that I don't think has yet been addressed.
Don't delude yourselves into thinking that everything will eventually go back to the way that it was.
North Little Rock
I'm sure I'm not alone in questioning the rationale of Little Rock officials to send our kids back to school after two weeks off for one day. Damage done! It may prove to be the single-most superspreader event in Arkansas yet. Idiotic.
Could've avoided that
These are frightening times. It's difficult to know who to trust. Thankfully, with each wave of the virus, the reporters at the Democrat-Gazette have made sure that people know the facts. Masks slow down the spread. Vaccines can lessen the chance of serious cases. Numbers are skyrocketing. People continue to die. People deny such facts at their own peril ... or to the peril of others ... which is why I write to you.
We have five young children. For the last week, we have openly wondered whether our children would be able to go back to their Little Rock School District (LRSD) schools. As numbers continued to skyrocket, we assumed that virtual learning was a foregone conclusion. Then, we received a message to the contrary late the night of Jan. 4. Without many other options, we were forced to take our kids to school. Only a few short hours later, we were told that LRSD was going virtual.
Honestly, it wasn't shocking when Superintendent Mike Poore made the announcement. This is what should have been done in the first place. What is shocking is that Superintendent Poore exposed all of our children to this wave of the virus so that he could recheck the numbers in real time.
Well, if he had just read the Democrat-Gazette (and a whole host of other outlets), he would have known that the current spread of the virus was very dangerous and not conducive to large gatherings of people. Now, our family (along with countless others) is left to sit at home (with our LRSD lessons/computers, of course) and wonder whether or not every runny nose, cough or sneeze is a manifestation of a deadly virus ... when Superintendent Poore very easily could have made this decision before they were forced to attend school in the first place.
Hope for the future
Hats off to Kennedy Squyres of North Little Rock, the 9-year-old whose eloquent letter Wednesday encouraged vaccination and mask-wearing. Unlike too many adults, young Kennedy thinks in an adaptive manner and wants this pandemic to end.
Kennedy, you will soon be able to read important analyses such as John Barry's "The Great Influenza" about the 1918-1919 pandemic; and Michael Lewis' "Premonition" about good scientists and ineffectual public policy in this century. Smart young people like you, Kennedy, give me hope for the future.
CHARLES R. BELT
Perusing the Democrat-Gazette feels like visiting an art museum lately. What a delight to see such artistic photographic compositions published in the Dec. 30 edition vividly portraying local scenes in the fog ("Pedaling in the fog" by Thomas Metthe) and rain--especially the lovely "Out in the Rain" by Colin Murphey.
Out of the dreariness, these spark joy.