Lim: Too fast, too soon

·3 min read

It’s a relief for me to hear minors under the age of 15 are no longer allowed inside supermarkets and groceries. But it doesn’t give me great comfort to know they are still allowed inside malls which for the most part, are indoor spaces.

Supermarkets have been urged to provide well-ventilated waiting areas for minors. But these waiting areas, unless completely outdoors, can still pose risks if people who converge there are largely unvaccinated.

Banning minors from malls will get the business sector fuming. But as we saw in the last two weeks, parents went a little crazy. Suddenly, malls were infiltrated with kids, toddlers and even infants. What were these parents thinking?

I imagined a scenario where perhaps the parents had come straight from a doctor’s office to get some shots for the baby but why proceed to the mall afterwards? Do they think the pandemic is over?

I go to the mall. But I don’t go malling. I apologize for my sexist language but I now “shop like a man.” As my brother likes to tell us, his five sisters, when men enter a store, it is with a purpose, to buy something specific.

Well, when women enter a store, it is also with a purpose—to buy something. What that thing is, we don’t know yet. It depends on what we see. And that is what many men find infuriating when waiting for a woman, shopping.

These days, I shop with surgical precision. I zero in on the targeted stores, take the targeted goods, then move out as quickly as possible—like I’m doing an extraction in a hostile region.

The vaccination of minors between the ages of 12-17 has just begun. This means that a large majority of this demographic remains unvaccinated. Their mobility should be strictly regulated. If it were up to me, those below the age of 12 should be prohibited from entering all indoor spaces. The mall is not a safe space for kids, toddlers or babies.

I don’t fault government for relaxing rules and allowing more businesses to reopen but we have to wake up to the reality that if we want to restart the economy, we have to mandate vaccination.

The sooner we vaccinate as many people as possible, the faster we get back on track to at least a semblance of our pre-pandemic lives. And yet, vaccination is not enough. So, don’t ditch your shields and masks. Not just yet.

I know the struggle is real. So, I suggest that children of ALL ages be allowed to go out but ONLY to outdoor areas. Entry to indoor spaces, at this time, should be tightly-controlled. Let’s recognize the reality that it is difficult to significantly improve ventilation in indoor structures that are already in place.

So, let’s calibrate our response to falling cases. Let’s not decimate the gains we have achieved by moving too fast, too soon.

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