A florist and her customer both wear masks. Photo by Chris Stone

By Molly Bowman-Styles

If past is prologue, San Diegans may be in for a rude awakening over the two weeks following Labor Day weekend. That’s because San Diego County experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases in the wake of Memorial Day and Fourth of July festivities.

Although we cheered when San Diego County dropped off California’s COVID-19 Watch List and are encouraged by subsequent daily reports showing a declining rate of infection, a spike in coronavirus cases looms large. San Diegans can’t predict what the future holds, but what we can count on is this: The next two weeks will be a referendum on our community’s resilience and resolve.

San Diego’s economic recovery depends on our collective commitment to wear face coverings in public and when coming within six feet of others, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings. If we hope to weather the turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic, taking a holiday from these simple, science-informed steps is not an option.

Re-opening schools and shuttered businesses depends on drawing inspiration from the first six weeks of living with COVID-19: A window of time when San Diegans placed community over self. A surreal space when we were in this together.

This Labor Day, San Diegans have an opportunity to reclaim this civic narrative in a fresh and relevant way.

Wearing a mask has become politically divisive. But it doesn’t have to be. Science tells us face coverings are key to reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and saving lives. Choosing to wear a mask is a powerful, personal statement honoring frontline, essential workers who risk their lives everyday to protect and serve ours.

Choosing to wear a mask is a Labor of Love.

History will have its eyes on San Diego as residents, visitors and businesses enter the final stretch of the summer of 2020. Will we stay the course, wear our masks, and continue bending the COVID-19 curve? Or will we let down our guard, throw caution to the wind and allow the virus to come roaring back?

The choice is ours.

A second-generation San Diegan, Molly Bowman-Styles is the president of Windansea Communications.

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