Life is different around Colleton County and pretty much everywhere else in the world right now.
The pandemic COVID-19 has changed the way we are living at present and in the near future. Restaurants are closed, church services are canceled, festivals are postponed, grocery store shelves are empty, schools have shut down, and traffic is minimal. Toilet paper is scarce, people are wearing masks, and everyone seems to be uneasy.
But employers, business owners, and Colleton County civic and church leaders are doing what they can to take preventative measures to protect everyone.
Grocery store owners and managers are doing their best to reorder and restock shelves as fast as they can. BiLo morning manager Tabitha Deloach said that the shelves were full and stocked with bathroom tissue Monday night, but the shelves were cleaned out by 7 a.m. Tuesday.
“More trucks are due in, and we are doing our best to provide for everyone,” said Deloach. “We have been very busy, and are constantly running low on toilet tissue, eggs and bread, but we are working to make sure that trucks are bringing fresh supplies.”
That seems to be true of all the supermarkets and stores throughout the county.
Other stores are either closing completely or changing hours. Dollar General announced that the first hour they are open every day will be for senior citizens only from 8-9:00 a.m. Cato’s clothing store has shortened their store hours for the time being.
Most fast food restaurants have closed their dining rooms, but are still accepting drive through orders.
Waffle House is different. “You can count on Waffle House to remain open,” said Tami Linder. “We wipe down the doors, seats, counters, tables, door handles, glass windows and bathrooms every hour on the hour. Also, before a customer sits down, we wipe the seat and table with bleach. We will remain open as long as we can,” said Linder.
Another big change is with the health care professionals.
Urgent Care has a nurse who will come to the car wearing a mask and scrubs to check on a patient.
At Colleton Medical Center, the main entrance is closed and barricaded. The entrance has moved temporarily to the Emergency Room doors. A COVID-19 station has been set up with a staff of two, a masked nurse and a security guard, under a white canopy at the front entrance. Hospital visitation is extremely limited, and passes may only be received from the guard on duty. There is someone at the COVID-19 station on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your temperature is checked and instructions given before entering. This not only protects visitors, but the patients as well.
Nursing home visitation is highly restricted, as well.
Schools have shut down with school breakfasts and lunches being prepared by food services and distributed to parents who come and pick them up. Bus riders will receive food at their bus stops.
All across town meetings have been canceled or postponed and traveling is at a minimum.
While lifestyles have certainly changed because of the virus, the willingness to help neighbors in times of need should not change at all. This is a time to pull together and do what we can to survive the next few months. Phoning friends, neighbors and family to assess their needs and sharing what we have should be a priority for everyone.
Colleton County residents have always stepped up to the plate in disasters and helped each other, and the COVID-19 disaster will be no different.