Published On: Mon, May 4th, 2020

Open Boca Raton, but do it cautiously, safely – and soon

Coronavirus continues to plague our lives, institutions and the economy throughout the U.S. and around the world. And after enduring weeks of strict isolation, we are all ready to break out into the open to enjoy some fresh air, a sit-down meal with friends at a comfortable dining spot and some shopping at stores that might not be considered “essential.”

This pandemic that’s messed with our lives going on three months is really annoying. We’ve had to put up with uncomfortable facemasks and uncomfortable living conditions. We’re really tired of binging on television, staring at the ceiling and, as the Statler Brothers once sang, “Counting flowers on the wall.”

We got some good news this past week from Gov. Ron DeSantis who said he plans to begin easing some of the restrictions that have held us safe in our own homes, longing for the outdoors, the parks, the beaches and restaurants that offer more than only “pickup and delivery.” 

But DeSantis didn’t give us a timetable for opening. And the president promises only that freedom will come “soon.”

Two things come to mind in these difficult times.  We all have a duty to prepare for the world we will eventually walk out into. And the people who will begin reopening their shops and stores in Boca Raton and its environs this coming week – we hope – have a responsibility to let us know what we will encounter.

Lots of people say we will encounter a “new normal” when we saunter out into the streets to face a brave new world.  We have to be ready to deal with it.

Remember when wearing facemasks in stores and businesses was just beginning? Those of us who donned those facial accouterments back then felt truly out of place and a bit freaky with a hunk of cloth around our mugs. Now, we feel strange if we go into a store without a mask.

We’ve all felt the hostility of others who are becoming more and more frustrated by these “new rules.”  We’ve been told to move away from other people in stores and warned to observe the “one-way” signs on the floors of businesses. We are all dealing with telephone menus that tell us that “out of an abundance of caution and because of CDC regulations,” the store is closed.

Let’s hope this week sees some thawing of the COVID-19 ice. We deserve it. We have been through tough times and things don’t seem to be improving very fast. 

When Gov. DeSantis said he planned to start opening Florida, he excluded the three southernmost counties – Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – which means changes in our situations are being put off to another day.  And we don’t know which day that is.

To our friends who operate businesses in the South County area that have been dark and empty for months, please let us know when you are opening, and what regulations, if any, we will have to follow to enter your premises.

You know, The Boca Raton Tribune has been working hard not only to present news of importance about COVID-19, but we’ve encouraged small business owners to make an announcement of when their eating spots, clothing stores, nail clipping salons, barber shops, breakfast nooks, card stores, shoe repair businesses, furniture stores, car dealerships or other entrepreneurial efforts will be back in business. 

Keep letting us know.

Send some of your pertinent information to the newspaper. Or, better still, buy an ad. Newspapers have expenses, too, and we’re are not out of the financial woods.

We want to post all the info we can about what your business is doing right now.  Are you open or closed? Do you have new hours? Are you offering specials? We want to share this online for free.  Please fill out this simple form with basic info and we will post it for our readers as soon as possible:

We are very glad that many businesses out there have taken the initiative and already sent us their information. And we’d love to tell the world when you’re going to be back to “business as usual.”

Yes, we want normalcy back again. At first, it may be a new normal, with mask-wearing required, greater distances between tables at restaurants and fewer available seats in movie theaters or at live theater productions.

It has truly been a learning experience to try and stay in touch with friends and colleagues via Facebook, Zoom, YouTube and other cyber-communications modes. But nothing beats a warm smile and a handshake (for now, we’ll accept an elbow nudge) from friends we haven’t seen for too long.

Let’s get together – but do so by following the rules.


Doug Heizer


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