Jackson County Health Commissioner, Kevin Aston, was a recent guest on Cable Channel 15’s Morning Show with Jennifer Ratcliff. With a number of holiday-related events set for this Saturday, Dec. 5, Aston wished to remind the public of the various health and safety protocols touted over the past nine months, which are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I think our community is really lucky that it has so many caring people that really put a lot of time, work, thought, planning and love into organizing stuff like this,” Aston stated inside Total Media Studios during the Wednesday, Dec. 2 installment of the Morning Show. “We should enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it, personally, as I know a lot of people are.”

Though it is a message he says everyone has heard over and over again throughout 2020, Aston said Wednesday that message is one of which people need to remain cognizant.

“Come with your family, enjoy as a family, but stick with just your household,” he advised. “You don’t want to mix with other families or households. Keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, and so on. You can still wish people a Merry Christmas and catch up with them, but do please try to keep your distance from them. Most of the guidance to the public has been out for months and months now; it’s just important to keep it all in mind as you go out and enjoy these events this weekend. Please, try to do the right thing.”

Aston went on to say that events like those slated for Saturday are “special” and are not able to be conducted in all communities currently, given the severity of the virus’s spread as of late. In addition to being thankful for such holiday celebrations, he said attendees likewise have a job to do.

“Each of us that shows up and chooses to participate has our own part to do,” Aston said to Ratcliff. “All of this planning has gone into these events, and those of us that are going to come and enjoy it in person have our part to play in making it safe as well.”

Despite recognizing the “COVID fatigue” many people (including himself) have been experiencing lately, Aston said Wednesday that the virus is, unfortunately, going to be around for at least a number of months more.

“We want it to be over, too,” he said of himself and his staff at the Jackson County Health Department. “So, while we’re waiting on a vaccine to come and being able to share that with the whole community, which will eventually be the thing that ends this, we’ve still got to maintain those distancing guidelines for a while longer. Let’s do that on Saturday and enjoy the events.”

In closing, Aston reiterated what many have said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – adhering to health and safety guidance boils down to a matter of personal responsibility and a conscious choice to protect others.

“The decisions we make will affect other people,” he said. “We have an effect on one another, so let’s try and minimize any negative effects while celebrating the positive effects we have on each other. Let’s focus on the positive, but keep the responsibility we have for each other also in the back of our minds.”