One step forward, two steps back.

That’s how I feel about the new COVID-19 restrictions.

I found out about the newly imposed restrictions as dinner was cooking Friday, and I couldn’t help but think not again.

It was my day off, and I had chosen to step away from the current events of the day after spending an hour trekking around Elmo and Turbeville to get flood photos. 

Like most I groaned and moaned when I heard no gatherings of more than 25, and I shook my head and wondered about mothers and fathers fighting with their 6-year-olds to wear a mask.

But, I get it.

Things had gotten lax around here. 

Businesses, mom and pop and big box retail, had seemed to have given up enforcing mask wearing ­ that I admit, I don’t always do, but I try to remember my mask.

As time moves on, people have grown tired of wearing masks, staying home and not getting out and doing the things they enjoy — going to a movie, going to a concert, or any other outing that has been on hold for months.

People are tired of hearing “this is the new normal,” me included.

Going forward, I’m sure the entire world will be more health conscious, but how long is the world going to keep moving like this?

I’ve seen friends seem saddened and lonely. 

Friends haven’t been able to see their loved ones in nursing homes for months. 

Some birthday parties, weddings and other gatherings have been postponed or canceled, while some have went on without a hitch.

I try not to even think about my upcoming wedding, because at this point, I’m not even sure if it will be a possibility. And, part of me finds it’s selfish to even worry about it. An extravagant wedding doesn’t make a marriage. 

I once saw where someone said the restrictions feel like middle school when that one person wouldn’t quit talking during quiet lunch, once again putting the entire class in another day of no talking while eating. 

To be honest, I’m not sure where my stance on all of this is. I’m willing to wear my mask, but I long to have gatherings, even though I know it’s not necessarily safe. Then again, I know we’re not promised tomorrow, regardless of the circumstances around us, so it makes me want to move forward with my life as much as I can. 

I just want to return to the old normal.  

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at