Follow the rules
When the announcement that beaches would open again came last week, a Beaconite let out a shriek of excitement. There was no way anything was stopping her from enjoying the sun, sand and sea come Sunday. She knew she wouldn’t be the only one taking in a deep breath of freedom that day, and she kept safe distances from others who were out and about. She noticed, however, that some businesses were open and serving customers who weren’t wearing face masks or taking precautions like handwashing. As restrictions ease throughout the territory, the reporter wants to stress the importance of keeping up with safe practices. According to an article by Foreign Policy, the country of Slovakia was able to flatten its curve by limiting travel in and out of the country; implementing a strict 24-hour closure of businesses except for grocery stores, pharmacies and banks; and later easing restrictions slowly. The situation sounds very similar to what the Virgin Islands is practising. A key to Slovakia’s success was that its residents followed the rules. Leaders and opposition parties set their differences aside to come together, and citizens put their individual desires aside for the greater good. Public trust and media have been crucial to Slovakia’s success, Foreign Policy reported, and the Beaconite feels that it’s her duty to remind the public to adhere to the rules. They are there not to infringe on human rights, but to protect the right to live for all human beings.
On Sunday, a Beaconite woke up early to pull some weeds from a friend’s farm above Trunk Bay. It was the first day since the curfew took effect that residents were allowed outside of their homes past 1 p.m., and he planned to get an early start. After spending so much time confined to his home, it was refreshing to hear the crash of waves and smell the fragrant dirt. The Beaconite worked for about two and a half hours, during which time he laid goat manure and picked some fresh mangoes. After building up a sweat and caking his hands in dirt, he drove straight from the farm to Brewers Bay, where he took his first swim in the ocean for the first time in more than a month. Though he had been looking forward to this moment for weeks, he was caught off guard by just how nice it felt to wade out into the water, dive forward, swim a few freestyle strokes and then float on his back with the sun on his face.
Proving one’s mettle
A little-known fact about a Beaconite is that she has an interest in numismatics, or the study of currency. As she recently reported on stories of Virgin Islands residents starting home gardens and redoubling their work to recycle during the shutdown, it reminded her of efforts to conserve food through “victory gardens” and collect recyclable metals for military use during World War II. Now, she finds the history of the US wheatback penny particularly fascinating. Readers may recall at some point finding a somewhat odd relic in their coin purses — a grey penny. It isn’t a fluke. In 1943, copper was in high demand as a component for ammunition. So the treasury minted steel pennies instead. And last week, the world celebrated the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. The Beaconite finds inspiration in something as humble as the penny making a difference in a global war. It’s challenging to predict where society will be a few years from now amid so much uncertainty generated by the pandemic. But she looks forward to telling the stories of how her generation collectively worked in small ways to make a big difference.
A Beaconite was coaxed to Brewers Bay beach by her friends on Sunday — the first day beaches reopened — despite her fears that draconian police enforcement of the “rules” would suck all the fun out of going. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the case, although it wasn’t at the hand of the police. Instead, within less than two minutes of setting foot on the sand, she was chastised for not “social distancing” to the extent that a fellow beachgoer would have liked. She thinks it is profoundly sad that VI residents have turned on each other and are now overdoing the “policing.” She won’t be going back anytime soon.