Winter blues that flew in a little too soon

Staying home, news COVID-19 restrictions becoming harder during cold months

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Winter has never been colder than it is now COVID-19 has brought disappointment to everything typically linked to the holidays, including community gatherings, traveling to see family, and socializing. 

White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Americans should brace for fall and winter when the coronavirus is expected to surge due to cold weather and increased time indoors.

In California, new stay-at-home orders have gone into effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with the San Joaquin Valley region dipping below the 15 percent threshold as of late last week, enacting the most recent order locally.

The COVID-19 pandemic is requiring families to adjust the way they celebrate, as public health experts warn that small household gatherings may be a key reason cases have recently surged nationally. 

The Dec. 3 regional stay at home order prohibits “all gatherings with members of other households.”

This global pandemic was “easy” during the spring and summer months. Outdoor gatherings were recommended, as they were considered safer than indoor ones. As it got colder, most of the country has had to contend with the reality that colder temperatures will make getting together even harder.

Juan Chavez, a former Delta College student, said he likes to go out during winter. 

“Winter wonderland, Six Flags, amusement parks with rides, and we can’t go out as often as we used to. This winter is different, and we are limited in our lives,” said Chavez.

We’re now adjusting, at least in most of the U.S. The basics of COVID-19 are the more we have contact with each other, the more transmission we are going to see. 

So, we need to think creatively and be diligent about trying to maintain social distance and mask-wearing as much as we can to minimize the spread.

Many of us were hoping that once lockdown eased a little that things would continue to return to normal gradually until a vaccine and or better treatments were widely available.

It was always very likely that there would be an increase in cases of coronavirus in the winter and with seasonal flu. Now that this is happening, we must get used to some lockdown restrictions again.  

That includes a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew set in place by Gov. Gavin Newsom in late November, and the new regional orders prohibiting gatherings, and reducing “congestion” in retailers by allowing the only operation at “no more than 20 percent capacity.” Non-essential travel is also impacted as “no hotel or lodging entity in California shall accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel” unless quarantine is involved.

The holiday season is a happy, magical time. 

The anticipation of celebrations and family gatherings gives many people, especially children, a warm and happy excitement that they look forward to each year. Maintaining this tradition is important.

This pandemic in the winter has caused us to be more cautious. 

There are families who will continue to celebrate despite the pandemic health advice. 

“As long as I know family is alright, I don’t see why we cannot celebrate in a smaller group together. It is the only season where the family and kids are most excited about. What is Christmas without kids opening their presents and jumping from excitement?” said Alberto Galarza, who was shopping for Christmas presents at Costco in Manteca.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Grocery shop online with delivery and curbside pickup options if possible and consider delivering holiday food to older relatives. 

If you need to shop in-person, try to go at a time when stores are not as busy. These new changes might just be the key to staying safe this season.