Life as we knew it abruptly changed on Monday, March 16th, 2020. We were instructed by NC Governor Roy Cooper to close public schools, and universities & colleges quickly followed suit—our kids were going to be at home continuing their education. Mayor Allen Joines issued a “stay at home” order that prohibited people from gathering in large groups. Restaurants & bars were all suddenly closed—one day before St. Patrick’s Day. We were thrust into joining a global pandemic. “Covid-19,” the “Novel Coronavirus” and “Social Distancing” are new phrases that we began to hear multiple times a day from government officials and news networks.
People had to learn quickly to adapt to the new “stay at home” policy, which included working from home for most non-essential businesses and going to school virtually. Others had to continue working in very public (and very essential) jobs and risk their health to help the rest of us. Questions were looming in everyone’s mind, “What is happening to our world? How can we possibly adjust to these new directives? How will our economy and local businesses cope and survive the economic impact? Will I contract the virus?” Questions that still linger today.
For some in our community, life changed dramatically because they contracted the virus, some losing their life. If your health was not directly impacted, you will probably never forget the non-health impacts and inconveniences. Spring break trips had to be canceled, concerts and plays went dark, Wednesday of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro turned out to be the last four basketball games of the season, funerals for loved ones had to be postponed indefinitely, birthday parties changed, NASCAR and other sports were postponed indefinitely, visiting family members in nursing home facilities and hospitals was prohibited, shopping—forget it except online—eating out became take-out only, going to the doctor for wellness visits had to be postponed, our court system only handled emergency matters, churches and places of worship had to be creative to reach the parishioners, and even the 248-year-old Moravian Easter Sunrise Service had to be modified so that thousands of people could “attend” by watching on WXII, listening on WSJS, or live-streaming the service. Who could have dreamed any of these things just a few short weeks ago?
My family and friends have been lucky so far, with no known health impact. They’ve learned to adapt to the “new normal” that we all hope is temporary. When I first heard about people using Zoom, it took me back to when I was little and watched the 70s PBS show—Zoom, “Come on and Zoom.” I quickly discovered that Zoom was going to be very important for my family. My husband is working from home and conducting mediations with Zoom video meetings. I have work meetings with my wonderful Forsyth Magazine team with Zoom. My son Jackson is finishing his 7th-grade year at Forsyth Country Day at our dining room table with Zoom. Even the youth group at Home Moravian Church meets using Zoom.
One of my son’s closest friends, Davis, turned 14 during social distancing, so he couldn’t have a birthday party. His mom had his family and friends ride by and wish him “Happy Birthday” from the street. Jackson had a gift card for Davis, which he connected to his drone and flew it to the birthday boy standing in his front yard. Social distancing at its finest. Watch out, Amazon drone delivery!
Our new way of visiting my husband’s mom at Brookridge Baptist Retirement Home is parking in the parking lot while she stands at her 3rd-story balcony holding the phone and waving. This kind of visit has become temporarily normal.
We will get through this together. Better days are in our future. The experts tell us that our efforts to observe social distancing have decreased the number of people infected and dying from this terrible virus. Nothing remotely like it has happened in the United States since 1918—and Americans then made it through that crisis after a great loss of life. I hope you’re lucky enough to say the virus only made life more inconvenient and that you found new ways to enjoy some unexpected spare time.
And finally, thank you to our firefighters, police, first responders, hospital staffs, caregivers, the folks at the restaurants and grocery stores who kept us fed, sanitation workers, delivery folks, and all the other essential people who are helping us get through this “novel” event. We greatly appreciate your service, and we can’t thank you enough!