In December of 2019, when the Coronavirus first appeared in China, many failed to grasp its impact. While some did not think it would make its way around the world, others believed it all to be just a Hoax. Yet worldwide, it has been reported that there have been over 114 million cases and over 2.5 million deaths. 

As Japan entered its third wave of COVID cases, the government decided to help stop the spread and attempt to gain control of the situation. As a result, they would issue a state of emergency. This declaration saw many essential businesses closing at 7 pm every day. Other stores, hiking trails, and beaches closed completely. The government also pushed the requirement to wear masks. They enforced practicing good hygiene through washing and sanitizing hands, as well as the advisement to practice social distancing.

Lastly, a heavily enforced travel ban was set into place, requiring those traveling to separate islands from mainland Japan to complete a double quarantine. For military-affiliated individuals living on Island, the restrictions tightened even more. Many facilities aboard the installation discontinued services. Military officials announced limitations to off-base shopping to essential services only. Unless military service ended, leaving the Island was not a possibility. 

At the start of the new year, announcements detailed that the vaccine would arrive on Island. These announcements provided those stationed overseas hope. Cases on Island were decreasing, and little by little, restrictions began to loosen. On and off of the installation, various locations began to reopen or offer to take out services, while others took their business mobile to provide in-home services. With the increased number of those vaccinated, the military installation has begun to offer those stationed on-Island liberties that they had not seen since March of 2020, providing the feeling that things will one day return to normal. 

Looking for a way to give back during these tough times? Consider volunteering. Learn more about Okinawa Stray Pet Rescue, an organization committed to change.

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