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Social distancing: This means you

These are the times that try men’s souls.

Those words were originally penned by American patriot Thomas Paine during the Revolutionary War in 1776, but they seem as fitting today as they certainly did back then.

The nation and the world have been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, which made landfall in the United States Jan. 20 and has spread across the country since then. The first case in Alabama was confirmed March 17 – and the first case in Franklin County hit Monday.

With the coronavirus now in our backyard, we are asking you to take the guidance from medical professionals and other officials seriously, especially social distancing.

Social distancing, as defined by Johns Hopkins, is “deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.”

Schools are closed. Sports are postponed or canceled. Community events, in-restaurant dining, public offices – all canceled, on hiatus, closed. It’s all to promote social distancing, but it’s going to take everyone falling in line to make this precaution successful.

Gov. Kay Ivey and the ADPH have issued an order prohibiting gatherings of more than 25, and across the world we are seeing that limiting contact is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus.

Be part of stopping the spread.

When you think about how long the virus can linger on surfaces; how easily it can be transmitted from person to person via a sneeze or a cough; and how long a person can be infected and contagious before they realize it, it only makes sense that the safest course is to take precautions to stay away from each other.

We know this is a burden. With the arrival of spring comes the desire to gather at the ballfield, invite everyone over for a cookout or head to the playground. It’s supposed to be the time of year for Easter egg hunts, weddings, family reunions and graduations. We know the disappointment everyone is feeling right now.

But these are temporary measures, and the more proactive we are in taking them, the sooner we can come out the other side of this.

So we’re sorry to be the ones to say it, but – you need to postpone your 1-year-old’s giant birthday blowout. You need rethink the annual meeting of your knitting group. You need to take advantage of drive-thru and curbside options at local restaurants and businesses.

Do it for yourself, your neighbors and for all those you love.

We’re in this together – just, 6 feet apart from each other.