When it comes to masking and getting vaccinated, those opposed have been heard stating that it is their choice what they do with their bodies.

And, yes, it is true that people have the freedom to make their own choices—no widespread vaccine mandates or mask requirements exist, despite what one might be led to believe if their sole source of news is memes on social media.

However, freedom to make choices does not grant freedom from the consequences of those choices, and anyone who thinks that their decisions only affect them are, to be frank, delusional.

A friend of the Enterprise recently told us a story of how the choices made by a group of unvaccinated coworkers impacted not only the business but also the lives of those connected with the business.

Their coworkers had a close-contact gathering where masks were not worn and drinks were shared. Within days, everyone at the gathering had tested positive for COVID-19, as had several other employees who came into contact with them in the days following the gathering, as well as members of their own households, causing a ripple of COVID-19 infections.

Our fully vaccinated friend was identified as a close contact of one of those coworkers, having worked a shift with them in close quarters a few days before that person tested positive themselves. Knowing that this particular coworker would likely test positive, they did take additional precautions and wore a mask the entire shift.

It is hard to say whether the vaccine, the mask or both proved to be effective, but five negative tests later and our friend is reasonably sure that they are in the clear. They were not particularly concerned about becoming seriously ill, but they have children who cannot yet be vaccinated and a positive result for our friend would mean their children would have to quarantine, losing valuable in-person learning time. Their spouse, also fully vaccinated, would have to spend time and money hunting down tests of their own.

Our friend, while inconvenienced, was far from the hardest hit by this incident. The business was unable to operate for a week since so much of the staff became sick, which left healthy workers without pay for a week, clients in a bind and the business out thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in revenue.

All due to the choices made by a handful of unvaccinated and unmasked people and all of which could potentially have been prevented had the group taken even the barest minimum of precautions.

We get it. Everyone is sick of the pandemic, and we all want to see it be over and done with. No one likes having to mask up indoors, and we really do not think anyone is ever enthusiastic about getting a shot in the arm, either.

It is probable that COVID-19 one day becomes an everyday part of our seasonal ailment rotation, we understand that, too. But in the meantime, the best way to get through this is to work together as members of a society and to try to make choices that benefit the whole instead of just its individual parts.

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