Communities are often defined by their physical location. Sometimes they're defined by a shared set of traits among a group of people. Other times, they're defined by a shared set of beliefs. The term can be applied externally as a way for others to identify a specific group or it can be applied internally by those who wish to be defined by what they share with others.
The point is, "community" can look like many different things and can be defined in many different ways.
Kitchen Angels is a community. We have volunteers, staff, clients, donors, customers (of Kitchenality), and other supporters. We have young members of our community, older members, wealthy members and not-so-wealthy members. Some of our members are healthy and others are not. Nevertheless, we are all brought together, defined by our commitment to, and need for, the care and kindness we give to one another. And because we are willing to be defined, at least in part, by our connection to Kitchen Angels, we have an obligation to watch out for each other.
The pandemic has brought this obligation into sharper focus than ever before. And the obligation applies not just to our Kitchen Angels community, but to all communities.
Last week, the Governor announced changes to the state's public health order. The state's "gating criteria," a measurement of the public health data reflecting the incidence and spread of COVID-19, show that we've been successful in limiting the spread of the virus.
Given that success, the state is relaxing some restrictions, specifically:
- Houses of worship may operate at 40 percent of maximum occupancy (as well as continue to conduct services outdoors or provide services through audiovisual means);
- Restaurants, breweries, wineries, distillers, cafes, coffee shops or other similar businesses may again provide indoor dining service at 25 percent of maximum occupancy;
- Some museums may operate at 25% capacity; and
- Gatherings of up to 10 people are again allowed.
The changes took effect Saturday.
The Governor commented, “New Mexicans ought to be very proud of the progress we’ve made all together, but we’ve got to remember progress in our fight against this virus does not mean we can let our guard down.”
There's even talk that schools may re-open for limited in-person classes after Labor Day. To do that, though, requires that each school’s county meet gating criteria for the rate of new daily COVID-19 cases and test positivity. "We are all one community and our unequivocal priority – the safety and welfare of our children and school communities – is shared," said the state's Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart.
What both the Governor and the Secretary are reminding us of is that what we do within the Kitchen Angels community, the effort we take to prevent COVID infection among our own community, affects other communities and their ability to function.
We're all one community.