As we round the corner into May, and Stay-At-Home 2.0, I want to thank all of you who have reached out to share your thoughts and concerns about these unprecedented times.
Like you, I watch the news conferences and wait for updated statistics daily. Yesterday, the Governor unveiled his initial plans for reopening our state. On May 4, time sensitive medical procedures will begin to be scheduled again. Golf courses and salons may open on May 11, with strict safety procedures in place. On May 18, restaurants that have outdoor seating areas may resume table service, also with required (and recommended) safety measures. For a full account, you can find information about all of these businesses, as well as campgrounds, beaches, state parks, retail and more at www.governor.nh.gov.
During the past few weeks, I have fielded phone calls and answered email across the political spectrum. I have heard from people who are desperate to get back to work and folks who are scared to death to leave their homes. I have heard from outdoor enthusiasts, anxious to be able to access ALL of NH...from nurses and physicians who are afraid of being sued... from constituents who feel their civil liberties are being infringed upon, and senior citizens who don't understand why all grocery store employees are not required to wear a mask. I have heard from cosmetologists who insist that it's safe to reopen, and cosmetologists who feel that they are at risk from opening without the adequate personal protective equipment that many can't seem to find. Some ask how one business can be considered "essential" when another "equally important" business is not considered at all. Every single person shares the worry carried by many...unemployment, debt, restrictions, red tape, safety. No one is unaffected.
Yet, in the midst of all of this, The Bedford Sewing Battalion has furnished over 15,000 masks to both health care workers and community members. Bedford Cares continues to assist the food pantry and match volunteers with those who need them. Each of our schools sent home a video to families last week, designed to reach through the camera and draw our students close again. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Family dinners don't seem so impossible to organize, and tons of grandparents are a whole lot more proficient with Zoom or FaceTime than they ever thought they might be! Despite our hardships that sometimes border on despair, the spirit is strong. Love plays a central figure when the only things you can really count on are you family and your friends.
The New Hampshire Legislature remains recessed, at least in part. Efforts are underway to provide committees and the public an opportunity to meet remotely, but the safety requirements of social distancing and limiting the number of people gathering in one place rules us out of the State House as a full body, for now. There will be LOTS to do once we are back in session, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, I am currently reading Goodwin's "Leadership in Turbulent Times." It is a compare/contrast of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, and it is fascinating. Is leadership born from genius or hard work? Is emotional intelligence as critical to success as intellectual prowess? What role does resiliency play in an inspirational life?
As the weather turns nice, I start to think about growing things. This year's flower choice is the "Blushing Susie" version of the traditional Black Eyed Susan. Wish me luck: first I ordered and assembled the planters, and now I am growing the plants...from seed!
I have faith in all of you to remain cautious as we re-emerge into our new world. If there is a take away from all of this, it's that many hands really do make the work lighter.
Stay safe and best to all, sm