by Phyllis McCrossin
Though the calendar says it is not quite summer, for most of us Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season.
Yesterday was perfect tourist weather and shoppers were out in droves in South Haven.
Summer is the make or break season for downtown businesses. The shop where I work was originally a department store, selling men’s and women’s clothing, but nowadays, in order to turn a small profit, they also sell summer wear T-shirts. The men’s section is relegated to a small section in the back of the store. We have a small selection of men’s swimwear, shorts, slacks and jeans.
It’s getting harder and harder to find wholesalers who want to bother with the small orders stores like ones this size can order. Our women’s section fills the other half of the store, but caters to a more “mature” woman. The bulk of our sales are from T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets with a South Haven theme. Visitors to the area like to bring home souvenirs from their visit.
I know this weekend we lost a lot of sales because our store still requires customers to wear a mask. When the CDC and later Governor Gretchen Whitmer said it was no longer necessary for those who are fully vaccinated to wear a mask, the store owner said since only 39 percent of the country was vaccinated he would wait a little longer to lift the mask requirement in the store.
“Maybe in June I’ll take the signs down,” he said. He stayed true to his word.
As I said, shoppers were out in droves over the weekend. When the weather is nice we prop the doors open and let the breeze (and an occasional bird) in. The sign requiring masks was posted to the door post.
People grumbled and complained. Some refused to enter. Some ignored the sign. Personally, I have a difficult time believing 100 percent of the people on the sidewalk were vaccinated. Statistically it is not possible.
I have to believe we (as a nation) are taking a rather large risk going by the “honor system” for wearing a mask. Then again in my previous life (as a reporter) I’ve seen some pretty nasty people and crappy behavior, so perhaps my opinion is slightly jaded.
Regardless, next weekend the store will no longer be requiring masks for those who are vaccinated. We will also be taking down the sneeze guard. I received my second “Fauci Ouchie” two weeks ago, which makes me fully vaccinated.
I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to wear a mask at work. I will continue to wear one when I go grocery shopping at the large retail establishments in the area. Some people in there are just plain scary.
At work I will continue to spray down the countertops and use hand sanitizer after every customer. I’ve watched too many people sneeze into their hands. The past 16 months has brought home just how disgusting people really are – germ-wise, anyway.
I think from now on King and I will always carry hand sanitizer in the truck and wash our hands after every public encounter. It’s been 16 months since we’ve had a cold or the flu. We’d like to keep it that way.