In just a matter of over a week’s time, our nation has seemingly went from pumped-fisted citizens defying the government telling us what to do, to a quiet, dystopian-like society with many offices and other bustling businesses shuttered, finding people seemingly content to stay home.

In Kentucky, the pain of having not only the SEC tournament, but then the NCAA tournament, ripped away has been supplanted by the realization we are in the midst of a serious situation that merits our full attention, respect and cooperation.

As it seems every day we learn of some part of our lives being temporarily stripped away in order to contain the virus, we have seen a resurgence in the small businesses here in our county. Business owners, like many of us, are taking the threats of the COVID-19 virus and any potential government shutdowns very seriously.

Restaurants that have never offered delivery services are starting to send its wait staff out on the roads to carry its food to the people. Some businesses have begun offering curbside service, a perk once reserved for a few national chain restaurants. These aren’t chain restaurants though. These local restaurants must continue on in any fashion they can in order to keep the lights on and their families fed.

Our Governor has kept the public informed with near-daily broadcasts on social media and television updating everyone with information from the day and any new orders he has issued to help Kentuckians fight off the infectious disease.

It’s in times like these that we see what its truly like to be Americans – to be Kentuckians more specifically. It isn’t always patriotism that binds us together in these parts, but there’s something about Kentucky, especially our area, that people pull together when they need to.

I’ve seen so many of my friends who, while having families of their own to care for, make themselves available to make grocery store runs and other errands for those considered most at-risk to catch the coronavirus. It’s truly heartwarming at the amount of neighborly love I’ve seen.

There’s another side to everything though: panic. While there should be a degree of concern, stores have been gutted of basic necessities and food by many people hoarding amounts they could never possibly use within a one month, let alone maybe a year in some cases, of toilet paper, sanitizer, and other sundries. Even the fresh meats have been stripped bare several times over at local stores.

People can spend their money or run up their credit cards as they see fit, but please remember the folks who don’t have the money to hoard up supplies. Remember the senior citizen who couldn’t run to the store before everything got gone. When they got there, nothing was left. Remember those who can’t stockpile for an unknown future. Get what you need for a week or two, and leave it at that. That’s all you need.

On a brighter note, we at The Mountain Advocate, and all of our sister newspapers across Nolan Group Media, we have opened up our websites for two weeks, with new content and e-editions unfettered by the need for subscriptions. We believe it’s our duty to serve our communities at all times, and in this uncertain time, we feel this is just one way we can help. Please, let your family and friends know they can read the news online if they can’t get out to a store to buy a paper. We’re always here for you.

Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.

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