Last Thursday, a few cars came down my street, slowing on my block, playing upbeat music, and beeping horns. “It’s a drive-by birthday party!” my sister laughed as we rushed to a window, trying to determine which of our neighbors was celebrating. We watched as several people leaned out of their windows, pumping teeny umbrellas. “Must be a mummer!” I smiled.
After that lighthearted moment, I did not give much thought to the birthday party. However, I was until I ventured out of my house to squeeze in a run before it got dark. I was alarmed to see a group of about ten adults spilling out of the mummers' clubhouse next door, standing close and cradling beers, and not wearing masks. A few months ago, this would have been a normal sight. Every few weeks the club will host parties or rent out their building for special events. But right now is a very different time. Despite some parts of PA cautiously reopening, Philadelphia is still on lockdown. That means city-dwellers shouldn’t be leaving their home unless for life-sustaining reasons. Missing your buddy’s birthday won’t kill you.
I thought everyone knew this, but maybe not; limiting interactions is not just for your safety. Staying inside protects vulnerable people and keeps hospitals from being overwhelmed. Throwing a large party is a slap in the face to the medical workers, grocery clerks, and first responders who are risking their lives to keep our city running. By simply avoiding crowds you are protecting someone’s someone’s neighbor, someone’s parent, or someone’s friend. The better we are about taking precautions now, the sooner we will be “in the yellow” and can reopen the city. So stick to the drive-by wave parades and FaceTime birthday bashes, because the gathering can wait.