Whether people wanted to or not, most of Stillwater seems to be doing the one thing within its power to help local businesses survive: Following the city ordinance that requires face coverings.

And it seems to be helping.

At the very least, it’s not hurting.

Local businesses are reporting they did better than expected last week during the annual citywide Crazy Days sale and we’re counting that as a positive sign and a win for Stillwater.

Our local economy was battered by COVID-19 this spring and the hits keep coming.

With case numbers still high and a fresh wave likely to hit us in a few weeks when college students return, we as a community need to be as ready as possible.

Because our infection rates are still in the epidemic range, Oklahoma was one of 18 red zone states listed last week in the White House Coronavirus Task Force report.

Hospitals in our large metro areas are beginning to report that their ICUs are filling up. City Councilor John Wedlake, a neurologist by day, said he couldn’t find an ICU bed in the Oklahoma City area for one of his patients on Friday.

It won’t take much to reach the tipping point that sends us crashing into a local crisis.

And frighteningly for our economy, the task force recommended rolling back Oklahoma’s reopening and reinstituting limits on gatherings.

That’s not something anyone wants to see or can afford.

A few local businesses didn’t survive the first shutdown. We know many more wouldn’t survive a second, so doing whatever we can to keep Stillwater businesses open is much appreciated.

Even if you’re not sure how much wearing a mask helps keep you or your neighbor healthy, we know it can’t hurt.

So thank you. Even if you’re doing it grudgingly, thank you. Maybe even more so, if you’re doing it grudgingly.

It’s tough when the enemy is invisible, but thanks for fighting the good fight, if not for yourself, for our community.

Please keep it up.

Stillwater is open for business and we want it to stay that way.

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