Flu prevention concept. Medical face mask on blue background top view copy space frame

We had a bit of a surprise on March 25. That’s the day Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order to transition “required” virus mitigation to “recommended.” Many, including me, thought changes with virus mandates and regulations would happen midsummer. 

Within moments of the governor’s announcement, business professionals and community leaders contacted me with a “Yay! This is over!” or “Oh no! It’s too soon!” 

To be clear, I don’t really have a personal opinion on whether the governor’s action was good or bad. My stance as the chamber of commerce president remains the same: Let’s do whatever is best to keep our community physically, mentally and economically strong and safe. 

I had been thinking about our post-pandemic world several days prior to Gov. Ducey’s executive order. I thought about the good and bad things that happened as a result of the pandemic. Some were both good and bad, like virtual meetings. Good that more people became comfortable using webcams and being on camera. On the other hand, the “mullet outfit” was low point in human history. Bad were the number of people who lost jobs, took a pay reduction, had to close their business, or had added responsibilities as parent-worker-teacher. Good were the number of kindhearted people who stepped up to help as much as they could.

I miss the handshake — this centuries-old tradition upstaged by the fist bump before social distancing became a thing. Maybe it’s an old-school, Gen X way of thinking. Maybe the handshake really is a symbol of good faith as the ancient Egyptians has intended. The fist bump is fast and fleeting, while the handshake represents a longer connection. 

We learned a lot during the pandemic about ourselves, about others, about what we can do and what we had to adapt to do. I’m always trying to predict the future to see what the “next step” will be for business and the community. You can help determine that future. If you’re willing, please take the Southwest Valley Chamber’s “Post-COVID Prep” survey tinyurl.com/swvcsurvey. Your input would be useful to the entire community.  

Sadly, too many of us will miss family and friends who passed during the pandemic. If anything, we’ve learned more about personal priorities. Treasuring as many moments as possible with the people important to us. Letting them know they matter in our life.

As we emerge from the pandemic, please remember to be courteous and respectful. We live in an amazing community with amazing people. Let’s make sure we show that to each other as often as possible. It’s always a great day in the Southwest Valley because of you.