CULTON: Normal will come again

COVID-19 has been hard on all of us extroverts. We miss our friends, going out and experiencing new things, as Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive orders keep us homebound.

The last couple of weeks have hit extra blows, with area municipalities canceling summer events. Dowagiac canceled both its Summer Concert Series and the Summer in the City Festival, while Niles City Council voted Monday not to accept event requests and to cancel previously approved events until Michigan’s COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings are lifted. 

On social media, these decisions have been met with scorn, frustration and heartbreak. Many have criticized our city leaders and event organizers, calling them shortsighted, saying they are jumping the gun or restricting residents’ freedoms.

Of course, it is reasonable and human to be disappointed that your favorite summer event has been canceled — I’m sad, too! However, I would urge everyone to be patient.

These events haven’t been canceled out of malice or because our towns are dying, as some have suggested. They have been canceled to protect public health and to comply with state orders. While I understand it is frustrating to see an event scheduled for July canceled when the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order is set to expire May 28, the truth is we don’t know how long this will last.

It is hard for small communities such as ours to pour time, money and resources into an event that may not be allowed by the state to take place. This is especially true now, when time, money and resources are scarce.

Eventually, our events will come back. Before you know it, we will be doing yoga in Riverfront Park in Niles, dancing to music outside of Dowagiac’s James E. Snow Professional Building and enjoying the sunshine during Cassopolis’ annual Pioneer Days.

However, in order to get there, we have to take social distancing seriously. We have to allow time for our communities to heal from the virus and time for our city leaders and organizers to put together the resources needed to host the events near and dear to our hearts. Unfortunately, this also means we need to accept that we will be staying home and away from large crowds for a while.

What we know to be normal will come again. We just need to be patient.