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Shopping, But With Caution

There was truly wonderful news this week: After being closed for nearly two months, the Ohio Valley Mall reopened on Tuesday — and retailers were pleasantly surprised. Many stores there were busier than had been expected.

COVID-19 forced the shutdown of much of the economy in Ohio and West Virginia. Retail outlets, restaurants and recreation businesses have been hit especially hard. Thousands of area residents have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs.

We simply cannot continue down that path, as both Govs. Mike DeWine and Jim Justice understand. Both are phasing in “reopening” initiatives.

In some other states, reports of how business reopenings went have not been encouraging. Consumers continue to worry about COVID-19. As a result, many are not returning to the stores.

So it was good to hear the mall had an excellent first day.

Even more encouraging was something else mentioned by Joe Bell, spokesman for Cafaro Co., which owns the mall. Noting that the state is requiring retail store employees to wear face masks, he added that it appeared about half the mall’s shoppers on Tuesday had donned them, too. They also were “conscientious” in observing social distancing guidelines, Bell added.

Wonderful. We mean that in all sincerity.

It will not take much for the coronavirus to come roaring back, possibly even stronger than before. Public health officials and business owners know that, and have urged consumers to keep it in mind.

That means taking precautions to avoid catching the virus and, because many who have it do not display symptoms, to keep from transmitting it to other people.

Half a shopping crowd wearing masks is better than none, of course. But the more people who put them on, the better our area will be protected against more COVID-19 cases — and more of our neighbors succumbing to the disease.

By all means, go shopping. But we urge you to take precautions when you do so — so local stores can remain open.

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