Extra patience, kindness needed for 2021 season
The coronavirus pandemic tested Delaware’s Cape Region over the last year in ways that could never have been imagined. At this time last year, all traditional summer events had been cancelled; beaches were closed to all but a very few walkers; warning signs about the deadly virus papered windows and doors of public and private institutions and businesses; barricades gave downtown Rehoboth Beach the appearance of a war zone; mask, suspicion and caution became the dominant fashion; economy tanked, unemployment soared.
One year later, despite an improving economy and waning virus, the challenges continue, but in different clothing: Primarily that of Help Wanted signs, traffic making up for last year’s lull, and the lack of international students - due to COVID-related visa restrictions - who have long been counted on to fill extra seasonal restaurant and retail positions.
Courtesy, hospitality and effervescence have been hallmarks of customer service, adding to the attractiveness of our region and helping ensure return visits. Those are qualities tough to sustain when stores and restaurants have barely enough help to open doors, stock shelves, take orders and prepare and deliver food. Bartenders are not only mixing drinks and drawing beers, they’re also ducking into dining areas to take orders and then delivering food and clearing tables, all while trying to maintain smiles.
New regulations tightening up unemployment benefits requirements may soon bring more people back into the workforce, but in the meantime it all amounts to tough business.
All of us - visitors and residents - on the other side of the equation as patrons can add a dose of pleasantness in these tough times by cultivating patience, understanding and kindness. Orders may take a little longer to process and deliver, but if we keep in mind what all of us have been going through during the past year, and be grateful we can finally get back out and about and interacting with these businesses that we rely on so much for our quality of life, the smiles and gratitude returned will enhance our experiences.
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