We will get through it as a community
West Virginia is officially a part of the coronavirus pandemic.
After weeks of reports from other states, and the sharing of various memes and jokes online, we learned Tuesday of the first positive case of COVID-19 in the Mountain State. By Friday night, we were up to eight confirmed cases, with more sure to follow.
The spread of this strain of coronavirus is something we are going to be talking about for a long time. Even when the pandemic has dissipated, there will be discussions of what we could have done to better prepare, and what we can do for the future. The same conversations have taken place with any kind of worldwide illness.
Government officials are working on a variety of projects with the goal of aiding those of us affected. We’ve been instructed to practice good hygiene (something we should be doing anyway), to rely on “social distancing” and work from home if at all possible (it’s not possible for everyone).
There also are efforts to provide money to every American citizen and relax a few regulations with the hope it will help us out financially. We need that financial assistance because so many businesses have been told to close down, or at least limit their service, to keep large crowds from gathering.
Our economy is not going to get out of this unscathed. It won’t rebound immediately once the pandemic reaches its end (whenever that may be). It is going to take time, and work from us, the people.
In the end, how we wind up is on our shoulders, not the government’s. Elected officials and appointed bureaucrats can move regulations around or throw tax dollars at a problem and hope it provides a solution, but how our communities move forward comes down to the work of each resident.
We are supposed to stay home and “socially distance” ourselves as much as possible. I do encourage that. However, we also need to find a way to support our business community during this crisis.
As I mentioned, the government has ordered some businesses to either close down completely or to limit their services. Restaurants are able to operate with take out and delivery services. Barbershops, beauty salons and nail salons cannot operate at all. The lodges at our state parks have been closed. There’s a good chance more will be added in the weeks ahead.
The difficult fact of the matter is, some of these businesses may not be able to reopen. This may just be too much for them.
We can give them a better chance at it, though, by supporting our restaurants and shopping locally as much as possible. If you are healthy, and able to go out into the community to make some purchases, do so, just take the needed precautions.
The Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce is keeping a list on its website of various businesses and how they are adjusting their operations. Mayor Harold Miller announced several sites for food distributions. Local businesswoman Sheena Sellitti Dunham created a Facebook group “Weirton FOOD to GO” to help residents find area restaurants.
We are all in this together, and we will get through it as a community.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)