One of the most frustrating aspects of the pandemic has been the fact that nothing seems clear anymore: There is no black-and-white, and there aren’t even really shades of gray. Instead, everything is a confusing, conflicting mess.

Take the recent reopenings that have followed decreasing COVID-19 case numbers and increasing vaccinations. The lifting of restrictions, the openings of more businesses, the closer-to-normal vibe throughout our desert cities … all of this should be a happy thing, something that makes me feel good. Right?

It should be, except that as I write this, cases are starting to rise in some parts of the country, after weeks and weeks of steady declines. More-contagious and potentially deadlier SARS-CoV-2 variants are beginning to take hold. The lifting of restrictions means more opportunities for the virus to spread—which could reverse the case-count declines we’ve been enjoying. We’re watching an epic race between vaccinations and variants—and the stakes literally couldn’t be higher.

Sigh.

Despite my muddled emotions, I am happy that due to the recent reopenings, we’ve revived two longstanding Independent features in our Food and Drink section. Our Indy Endorsements—brief pieces on food or drink items from local eateries that we absolutely love—are back, and can be found here, and in the April print edition on Page 31. In that same edition, on Page 31, or online here, you’ll find the return of our monthly Restaurant News Bites column, with food writer Charles Drabkin taking over the reins.

Barring that COVID case-count backslide about which I am fretting, we will bring back The Venue Report—our quick summary of music and other live-performance events around the valley—next month, covering May events.

We also recently revived another feature, although this hiatus had nothing to do with the pandemic: Our monthly Cannabis in the CV column is back. The reason for the lengthy break: I could not find a good writer to take over the column, despite numerous attempts on my part. Then, out of the blue, Jocelyn Kane emailed me—and, after reading her debut piece, you’ll agree she’s the perfect scribe for the column.

Anyway, regarding the return of the pandemic-paused columns: I really, really don’t want to have to put the Indy Endorsements and Restaurant News Bites back on hiatus. And I really want to see The Venue Report back in the Independent for good. So … please mask up. Please get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Please take all the necessary precautions, and then some.

Please.

As always, thanks for reading—and be sure to pick up a copy of the April 2021 print edition, hitting newsstands this week.

Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. A native of Reno, Nevada, the Dodgers fan went to Stanford University intending to become a sportswriter—but fell...