This editorial appeared in the Press-Republican on Sept. 15:

PLATTSBURGH — Anyone who wants to help bolster the local economy can easily do so by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask and avoiding large crowds.

These are all the steps that help us combat COVID-19, which has been responsible for serious damage to the economy in many ways as well as our health.

Ending the pandemic certainly is important for the health and safety of us all, but it will also be a major key in rebuilding the economic landscape.

During the past 18 months, we’ve seen businesses close, workers furloughed, staffing shortages galore, a shortage of goods and rising prices on some commodities.

The economic damage rivals the health damage and it all adds up to a bleak situation.

Not to mention, our social lives have been negatively affected, and it seems to be getting worse, and more and more events are once again being canceled due to the rise in [novel coronavirus] positive cases in the region.

No one wants to go back to empty streets and more closed storefronts.

We do have the tools to get back on track.

The sooner we end this pandemic, the sooner we can get back to a more robust economy, more events and a better life.

The vaccination rate has been creeping up lately, but it is still way too slow, and there are still too many people who will not even consider getting the shot.

This is hard to figure since many of those not willing to get vaccinated and who do not want to wear a mask are among the first to complain about the economy.

We shouldn’t wait for government to get us out of this mess as we’ve seen too many conflicting messages regarding COVID-19 this past year and a half.

This past weekend, we saw NFL stadiums full of people, shoulder to shoulder and most of them were not wearing masks as far as we could see on television.

Government seems satisfied that this is OK even as COVID cases rise mostly due to the delta variant.

It is true that if most of those fans are vaccinated that they are not likely to be hospitalized or die, but you have to figure that such events are bound to be super spreaders, and that will put a strain on our healthcare system, which is also hurting.

When local events are canceled, restaurants closed and shelves empty, people think of those football games and can’t help but be frustrated.

The one sure way we can battle out of this pandemic is to take the steps we know work: get vaccinated, wear a mask and avoid large crowds.

With the colder weather fast approaching and the prospect for spending more time indoors, the urgency is greater than ever.

We don’t want another winter like last year, and with the way [the coronavirus] is still spreading, it could be worse.

Get vaccinated, wear a mask, avoid large crowds and save lives and jobs.

Stay safe, north country.

© 2021 Press-Republican

Johnson Newspapers 7.1