Clearly, frustration and disdain for the stay at home order has compelled tourists to defy the rules and travel over the weekend. This blatant disregard has fueled a whole other segment of our community to become angered and equally frustrated – those who are staying home and following the Phase I guidelines.
This is especially true for business owners who have complied. But when they see their neighbors “open for business” and accommodating customers who have disregarded the travel ban, it puts everyone in an uncomfortable place. Wouldn’t it be nice if we just all followed the rules?
Of course, it would, but human behavioral studies tell us otherwise. A recent European study showed that children alone in a room, when presented with a game, will cheat in the absence of someone watching them. When children were told there was an imaginary princess in the room watching over them, they complied with the rules of said game.
This supports the notion that a supernatural being watching over you will compel you to comply with rules. In other words, you’re likely to do it unless you believe God is watching. Even then, many would argue if it’s not one of God’s laws, its fair game. So, with no law enforcement tasked with enforcing the travel ban or social distancing guidelines, we have utter chaos.
I’d be a hypocrite to claim I haven’t broken any social distancing rules. It’s a pretty difficult standard to uphold for this extended period of time. But many valley residents and businesses are complying, and this challenge has led to quick adaptation and creative thinking. Online marketing has been a lifeline for businesses who can sell their products curbside or delivery.
For instance, I’d like to applaud the Methow Valley Farmers Market for pulling together a very safe and user-friendly system to address this pandemic. Anyone who wants farm-fresh products or crafts can order online from methowgrown.org for farm products or methowmade.org from crafts. Pick up is from 9 a.m.-noon for farm products. On-site sales are available but social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitizing guidelines are required. Thanks to this system, fresh greens are making their way to my plate every few days.
Another creative adaptation to this crisis has been Twisp Daily Art and Business roll-out of their comprehensive website ordering. They are offering curbside pick-up along with delivery for purchases over $50 to residents in Twisp or Winthrop. My sense is that local businesses will need to offer delivery to keep up with online retailers well after this pandemic. It’s a trend that’s already happening all over the world through delivery apps where couriers pick up items from local shops and delivery to your home. Imagine Uber for everything.
Even prior to this crisis, the convenience of curbside/pre-ordered or home delivery is a time-saver for busy families. People who want to support local businesses still find it hard to resist the convenience of online shopping, especially if it’s more affordable. So, I hope this crisis will propel our local businesses into new modes of sales where convenience will bring people back, even if it’s virtually.