To cancel or not to cancel?

Business owners and event organizers consider whether to close their doors

Social distancing has, overnight, become a universally recognized norm. But just how much distance is enough? Is it sufficient for a business owner to place a pump bottle of hand sanitizer by the front door, or should they shut up shop altogether? And just how long should events be postponed for — weeks, months or longer?

Cordova 4H Music Camp has taken a prudent but optimistic viewpoint, canceling an April 4 fundraising concert but making no plans to postpone the camp itself, scheduled for July 13-17.

“We’re thrilled to have a great lineup for camp, and I, personally, feel like July has the potential to be enough time to get through this crisis,” said Amy O’Neill Houck, co-president of the camp board. “But we’re in a pandemic. Nobody knows.”

Also treading a middle path between complacency and alarmism is Zen priest Kelly Weaverling. The Pathless Way Zen Community, which usually meets Sundays to meditate, was one of the first local groups to suspend meetings in order to practice social distancing. Weaverling is also an organizer for the Recall Dunleavy campaign. He’s stepped back from signature gathering activities, for the time being, he said.

“If I continue to collect signatures, I not only put myself in harm’s way, but I put others in harm’s way as well,” Weaverling said. “We know that everything we do affects other people. That’s the basic idea of karma: you need to watch what you do.”

Some organizations, such as Cordova Telecom Cooperative and Cordova Family Resource Center, have closed their offices to public traffic while remaining available by phone. Copper River Fleece has continued to do business online and by phone, making items available for in-store pickup.

“The virus, eventually, will run its course like a storm,” Weaverling said. “If we hunker down, it’ll pass by and there’ll be sunshine and blue skies again.”