Neal Mug

Jeff Neal

My daughter, Brittany, celebrated her 32nd birthday last week.

Under normal circumstances, that would’ve meant a nice family gathering with cake and hugs and joy.

But, unfortunately, that celebration has been postponed.

While I am practicing social distancing as much as possible, my job has taken me back and forth from Somerset to Richmond, to newsrooms at the Commonwealth Journal and the Richmond Register. The editorial staffs are relatively small at both community newspapers and reporters are working from home as much as possible.

But I’ve still dealt with people outside my household. So, for the sake of safety during the COVID-19 crisis, we just couldn’t have a birthday bash for Brittany. I can’t have my son, Chase, over to talk sports or watch boxing — of course, right now, it would have to be dvd of past great fights anyway. The sports world is shut down.

Taking these steps is difficult — but also responsible. I don’t feel pressure from Gov. Andy Beshear. It’s just common sense.

We might not know a lot about the coronavirus, but we do know that people with very mild symptoms — or no symptoms at all — can spread it. If you spread the virus and it eventually reaches a person at risk, who becomes very ill, we have to ask — was our party, our ballgame, our church service or our meeting really worth it?

On Wednesday, a group of church leaders from northern Kentucky filed a lawsuit against Beshear for restricting large gatherings — including church services.

Last Sunday was Easter and I know it’s important to so many to worship on that day. Attendance is probably higher on Easter Sunday than any other church service during the entire year.

But many churches observed Easter with virtual services via YouTube, Facebook Live and other social media services.

They were clearly being responsible.

To do anything other than that is just irresponsible — and selfish.

I can’t wait until things get back to normal. I want to visit with my older kids again, and my grandchildren — complete with hugs.

I long to watch a Cincinnati Reds game — one that isn’t from 1975, although that was a great year.

I want to eat out, take day trips, look forward to a normal football season and maybe even sneak in a beach vacation prior to 2021.

I want to see my youngest daughter, Carly, back at Pulaski Elementary School with her friends, so she can finish her fifth-grade year and get herself ready for that jump to middle school.

I want to see our local businesses and industry thrive. I want to see people back at work.

I’d really like to get a haircut.

Having everything in our community pretty much at a standstill is just ... weird.

But I know the aggressive measures taken by governors like Beshear and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine are working. The proof is in the numbers and Kentucky is doing well, compared to other states that have not been so aggressive.

Let’s be supportive and simply follow the guidelines until our nation can gradually begin to find normalcy once again.

It’s just the decent thing to do.

JEFF NEAL is the Editor of the Commonwealth Journal. Email him at jneal@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jnealCJ.

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