Auburn was looking good.
Coming off a workman-like season opener against what many experts thought was a sneaky Kentucky team, the Tigers looked to have their best shot at winning the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry on the road since 2005.
But as we’ve come all too familiar with the same theme, Auburn sports are going to do as Auburn sports do. We’ll get a solid year, but following Auburn athletics always seems to give you just enough hope to be heartbroken, when it’s ripped away just as things are looking to be on the upswing. But that is neither here nor there.
Unfortunately, it looks like the City hasn’t learned from the Tigers’ woeful lessons on how to close out a lead when it comes to the pandemic.
Following a decreasing number of new COVID-19 positive cases that has even surprised Auburn University Medical Clinic Director Dr. Fred Kam, the City Council held a conspicuously timed emergency meeting to lift the restrictions on downtown bars that they had just implemented within the past couple weeks.
The meeting, which lasted approximately two minutes, put an end to the temporary ban on walk-up service at bars, imposed by the City. Although the City’s restrictions were lifted, local bars still must abide by Alabama Beverage Control Board regulations, which call for a designated seated area and for patrons to maintain six feet of distance, something that social media would make it hard to believe is being implemented.
As noted above, Auburn has done a complete 180, at least perceptively, from where it was just a few weeks ago. The University reported just 21 new COVID-19 cases last week, which was a modest increase from the 17 in the week prior.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
But this is a far cry from when the University was reporting a few hundred cases just a couple of weeks ago. The University has sustained itself through the expected wave of cases at the beginning of the semester, it avoided another spike in cases following the Labor Day Weekend and Dr. Kam says the current situation represents a more of a downward trend than an outlier of a good week or two.
So, everything is going great, right?
If we’re to believe the vast majority of students coming down with the virus are indeed reporting their positive results, and that the low participation rate in the Sentinel Testing doesn’t imply a widespread underlying spread of the virus in the community, then we should continue exactly what we have been doing to a tee.
But for some reason unintelligible to many members of the Auburn Family who are following along, the City changed course, due in large part to concerns from the mayor and council members who believed the restrictions were too burdensome on businesses and the local economy.
So, just as the Tigers did in Omaha in the 2019 College World Series, in Minneapolis in the 2019 Final Four and in Atlanta for what was almost an incredibly special 2017 football season, the city seems to be dropping the ball, forgetting everything that has gotten us this far.
We’re just two weeks into this spectacle of a 2020 college football season, and downtown Auburn businesses have been soaking up every nickel in the makeshift game-day experience that has been a hit by most indications for the first few Saturdays.
As Auburn students, employees and members of the Auburn Family, we want to wish the pandemic away just as bad as any other college kid missing out on priceless memories.
However, we won’t be able to put this pandemic behind us — and as all the experts have been saying — we won’t eliminate economic issues from the community without eliminating the virus from the community.
So, please, whether the city is enforcing social distancing and mask wearing or not, don’t lose this lead. We’re looking so good. Let's keep our foot on the pedal.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman