A community fragmented: Disagreement on Covid restrictions

Kendal's heightened lockdown restrictions led to increased tensions among Kendal's residents. As with the rest of the country, Kendal's residents had diverging opinions about the right balance between personal freedoms and community safety, with some residents believing that Kendal's lockdown went too far. Ultimately, most interviewees agree that they were thankful for Kendal's cautious approach. 

Residents express their disagreements with Covid lockdown restrictions:

Restrictions didn't match the threat of the virus: “In my opinion, the way the rules were administered and the way they were set up, didn’t show a lot of smarts. What they were doing, let’s say, okay this zone, this physical area is risky, wear a mask. Mingling was risky behavior. So from my standpoint, they should have said, hey look, if you got to mingle, you got to wear a mask, if you’re not mingling, don’t!” - Dan Reiber

The struggle of wearing a mask: "But I really don’t like wearing the mask. It fogs up my glasses, interferes with my breathing, and I feel claustrophobic with it. And that was, that was an issue as far as I’m concerned. So I’m kinda pissed that the rules were made by somebody who was: ahh just wear a mask, no problem. There was a problem." - Dan Reiber

Questioning the decision to move to Kendal: "It didn’t feel like the great fit place that we had chosen to spend the rest of our lives. That was the problem, you know? We started thinking, was this smart? Was this a good idea? What else would we do and how would we do it? That kind of stuff." - Larry Mirel

On residents surveilling the behavior of other residents: "Yeah, you know someone was likening it to the Stasi the other day. You know in East Germany where people reported on their neighbors. You know my specialty in English was Shakespeare. And at that time in England they didn't have a police force. They depended on people snitching on each other." - Former Oberlin Resident

Interviewees downplay their own disagreements with the restrictions while emphasizing the opinions of other residents:

Residents wanting to push limits: "And people who just couldn’t always understand why they couldn’t do some things. 'Why can’t I just take my dogs across the street and have them run on the field?' kind of thing or you know why can’t I go up to water my rose bushes? They just couldn’t get the concept of you know, we’re trying to keep everybody safe. If you go, then everyone should be able to go and then it snowballs." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Residents felt like children: "I know that there are people, and I think frequently men, who felt very belittled or treated like third graders or that the restrictions kept them from being able to make choices that they wanted to be able to make. But I was fine because I got a chance to do what I needed to do." - Elizabeth Hole

Everybody thinks they know better: "I had an opportunity to have my finger on the pulse of what was going on and the larger Kendal responses which was everything from 'How dare you tell us what to do!' just like the rest of America no matter how intelligent everybody knows better than everybody else. It was amazing. I won’t say the majority of people, but there were a lot of, 'based on what?' 'what are the facts?' 'who’s telling you you have to do this?' 'why do we have this?'" - Judi Bachrach

Residents ultimately recognize the necessity of Kendal's strict policies:

A necessary tradeoff: "But, I was grateful with all of this actually to be really safe and not to have to take any risks. Whereas people who were still in their homes had huge amounts of freedom but how to use it and how to stay safe. You know, it was a tradeoff." - Former Oberlin Resident

If given the choice, this resident would choose Kendal's approach: "And I guess if I was going to be in a place where there’s uh, if I could choose between one that is overkill and a little bit less so, um, risky. You know I might choose the overkill situation." - Dan Reiber

Being overcautious is better: "But you know a lot of the course of the disease was unknown by everybody. So they were erring on the side of being overcautious. And I think that’s right. I was very appreciative of that even though it made our–my life and my wife’s life–more difficult than it may have needed to be. It was the right thing to do." - Larry Mirel

A community fragmented: Disagreement on Covid restrictions