FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2020
CONTACT: Heather Thomas, 425.339.8688
Celebrating together, just physically apart
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Community egg hunts, boating, fishing, sporting events and baby showers are just a few of the favorite past times currently on pause. It can become even harder to endure as the sunny days and warmer weather emerge. But now, more than ever, residents must Stay Home, Stay Healthy.
“We are starting to see very early indications that we are heading in the right direction, but what we are seeing today is the result of everyone’s good work over the past month by staying home,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, Health Officer for the Snohomish Health District. “We cannot stop—or even ease up—on the restrictions, or we will end up right back where we were a month ago with cases increasing.”
What it means to “Stay Home”
Under the Governor’s orders and the local health officer orders, individuals should only leave home for essential work or errands. The state website (coronavirus.wa.gov) has a page “What does it mean to stay home that encourages walks, checking the mail and sitting out in the sunshine. It is not a time to have friends or family over, or travel to “get out of the house.” Snohomish County Parks, Recreation & Tourism recently encouraged people to “Recreate responsibly.”
Social connection for holidays, events and milestones
Since hosting or attending gatherings to mark holidays or events can’t happen, finding other ways to stay in touch and acknowledge special days is important.
The list of what’s been disrupted isn’t short – birthday parties, weddings, funerals, baby showers, family traditions for holidays like Easter or Passover, picnics or camping trips to welcome the sunshine. There are also the more routine but equally treasured times, like family dinners, playdates, sporting events, or happy hour with friends.
If a remote option is available, consider changing plans for celebrations or get-togethers rather than canceling entirely. This time is stressful for many, and coming together socially – but staying separated physically – is critical for mental and emotional health.
For the events we can’t or don’t want to experience remotely, like weddings or graduation parties, start making plans for the future. It’s still too soon to set a date, but it might be just the right time to start gathering ideas for a rescheduled celebration.
For other ideas, the Health District published a new blog today: COVID-19 and celebrating events, holidays and milestones.
Faith communities play a key role
Sharing traditions and companionship, particularly around days of significance in your faith, is deeply meaningful for many in Snohomish County. People are feeling the loss of congregation and are eager to get back to faith-based activities and services.
Faith leaders are encouraged to explore options for remote services and events in the meantime. This could include live-streaming the service, having a conference or video call, or providing emails to members of your faith community with key messages and/or links to pre-recorded videos. If use of technology is discouraged overall or on certain holy days, letters or other mailings with reminders, prayers or scripture may be another option. More ideas and guidance for faith-based services are available in an FAQ online, with additional translations available.
Members of faith communities are also reminded to continue to stay home and participate in remote services or other options as they are able. The goal is to keep you and those around you safe and healthy.
Good intentions, but still not safe
The Health District has been approached by a number of schools and organizations with well-intentioned, creative ideas on how to stay connected. These have included drive-in concerts, drive-by parades or drive-thru Easter egg/basket donations. While beautiful sentiments, and hearts are in the right places, it is the Health District’s recommendation not to proceed.
In addition to these being non-essential outings, they also send messages to community members that aren’t supportive of the Governor’s (and our Health Officer’s) order to Stay Home, Stay Healthy.
Instead, look for phone or virtual opportunities for staff to share their well-wishes, or perhaps send special mail. Kids (and adults) can draw pictures and mail them to loved ones, or even strangers who might need a little cheering up.
Take care of those around you
Many of us are missing the people we can’t be with in-person right now. That makes it more important than ever to be there for the people who are near you. Support your household members or, for essential workers, your coworkers. This is the time for courage and compassion. Be ready to listen and offer a friendly reminder: We’ve got this. We’re in this together. We’re all part of the team.
You matter, and so do the traditions and events you’d been looking forward to. We’re grateful that you are making sacrifices to stay home, stay away from others, and help the community fight this disease.
The Snohomish Health District updates case counts online at 2:00 p.m. everyday.
The health and safety of Snohomish County remains the Health District’s top priority. The community is encouraged to help prevent the spread of illness and to support the response to this outbreak by staying informed and sharing reliable information. This is a very fluid situation and information will be updated at www.snohd.org/ncov2019 and the Health District’s social media channels.