Our world is in crisis. In 2020, a super contagious and infectious disease called COVID-19, or Coronavirus, began spreading across the globe. Originating in China, it seemed for many a farfetched idea imagining having to deal with the effects of this virus in our own backyard, here in Elko, Nevada. However, in March of 2020, the realities of COVID-19 became all too real for the good people of Elko County as the illness made its way into our country, state, and eventually into our community. And ever since its arrival, many lives have been impacted. Health concerns skyrocketed as individuals have taken incredible precautions not to let the virus spread to their neighbors. Relationships and the way we communicate had to be altered, as a call to practice “social distancing” was put into place. Businesses and schools had to shut their doors, leaving many to wonder what their financial and educational future will look like. Stores have been cleaned out of everyday items of necessity, leaving their shelves empty and cold. The ripple of effect of COVID-19 throughout all of our lives is apparent and will be seen for months, perhaps even years, to come. Some of our neighbors’ lives and stories have been changed forever this year; this is a time that will indeed go down in history.
In light of everything I (Anthony Crosby) just shared, I wanted to dedicate the rest of this blog to hear from four of our neighbors about how the realities of the Coronavirus outbreak as impacted their lives individually. I specifically chose people from four different walks of life to offer us four different perspectives to take into consideration. My hope and prayer behind doing this is to remind us all that we are not alone in this. Your neighbor is hurting, scared, confused, and anxious, too. However, because we know we’re all going through this together, we can have each other’s backs and lift each other up in these times! We are a community and a darn strong one at that! Now, let’s hear from the people I invited to join us today.
Selisha Dandylynn Payne- The Grocery Store Employee
What has been your experience through all of this while working at one of our local grocery stores?
“My experience has been how surprised I am by people’s ease of feeding into the panic and frenzy! Also, how greedy, rude and selfish some people can be.”
What has been the hardest part of this entire scenario for you?
“The hardest thing for me, I would say, is being a single mom of two young boys. It’s hard going to work every day while they are home. I fear getting them sick, and I am sad to leave them.”
Despite all the hardships of all of this, what’s something you think you’ll take away from these months?
“[What] I will take away from this is how most of the community has pulled together to make sure those going without basic necessities get what they need, through word of mouth and social media. Our community is amazing always when it comes to helping each other!”
Nathanael Fluellen- The Person Whose Job is Considered “Essential” and is Still Allowed to Work
What has been your experience through all of this as someone whose business (Ames Construction) is allowed to stay opened and operate while others are not?
“Although we are allowed by the present gubernatorial mandate to operate, there are in fact many restrictions and changes we have had to implement as a company to stay open. We have had to implement a strict policy of social distancing (from shaking hands to our communication with vendors and our clients), travel restrictions for our employees, and limitations on the transport and meetings and transport of individuals in our employ. As the changes come out, we have to adapt and change quickly.”
What has been the hardest part of this entire scenario for you at work every day?
“The procurement of hand sanitizer and dust masks for our workers has been without a doubt the biggest hurdle to overcome with the scarcity of the products in the current market. I never imagined having to make my own hand sanitizer on a somewhat large scale and I never expected to become proficient in the process. As well as monitoring all of our crews to make sure we stay healthy and illness free.”
What have you noticed about our community as a whole throughout these times?
“This has been hard for the High Desert area as well as the rest of the nation, but we have adapted and will overcome. Even despite the hoarding and panic-driven behavior I and many others have witnessed during this crisis, I have also witnessed our community coming together in solidarity and [being] understanding of the challenges we face. Our town and county have a lot more good apples than bad apples and that’s a fact.”
Tina Diedrichsen- The Business Owner
What has been your experience through all of this as someone who owns a business (Pizza Barn) that has had to close its doors to the public?
“The community is being fantastic. We are getting nice messages about our food and staff. Moneywise, we are way down. Especially on the weekends. Birthday parties keep us alive. We have noticed that we have more business during the day. Places like Vogue, Nevada Health Centers, The Elko Federal Credit Union, and other businesses are ordering for their staff that is working. Plus the little people, like us, just wanting to support their town. We have ourselves ordered from JR’s, Donuts N Mor, and plan to get takeout from La Fiesta sometime this week or weekend.”
What has been the hardest part of these last few weeks for you and your business?
“The hardest thing is to figure out how to rework how we do things. The phone is ringing (we are thankful for that), but it brings to order, and many pay over the phone. Then they call to pick up out front. In the meantime, trying to make those orders and get them all in to-go boxes takes time. A lot are sandwiches. Our staff [has] been great trying to figure out new ways to make this run more smoothly. We have reduced our hours open, but have been able to keep all our staff. We have had to reduce hours but it hopefully is enough to live on.”
What positive aspects of your business and our community have you noticed so far?
“I feel like this has made our team of employees get closer. They are working so well together. That has been such a positive thing. The town seems to be spreading around the love to all the restaurants. That makes me so happy. We want to support everyone and pray that we can all get through this together.”
Katie Miller- The Parent Having to Homeschool Her Children
What has it been like for you ever since the Governor announced that all Nevada schools would be closed until at least the middle of April?
“I think like most people last week was a whirlwind of shock. Every day it was a new set of rules to follow, statistics repeatedly are thrown at us, our kids are thrown for a loop, parents are scratching their heads trying to line up childcare, grocery stores are out of everything, or worse families suffered a loss of income. It was all too much. I think ECSD did and is continuing to do an amazing job. They were thrown to the wolves that Sunday night the Governor closed the school. The amount of communication and time that our educators and staff put into setting up our families with supplies and tools we need to assist our kids was superior!”
What has been the hardest part of these last few weeks for you and your business?
“I would say definitely the homeschooling has been the hardest. It was quite a learning experience being thrown all this information and the fear of disappointing your kids and seeing them suffer over a virus. So we made it a priority and it’s been going well. The extra time with them has been great. Life goes so fast, perhaps this virus is our way of having to take a step back and pause.”
What is something positive that you and your family will take away from having had to adjust to this new way of life in Elko?
“I hope that when this is over that we still take a second and pause. Our community knew [that] the right thing to do was to protect its citizens, even if it meant a financial loss. These gracious people closed their doors to protect their people. Others determined to not disappoint its customers discovered new methods of providing for us among new CDC standards. Our community is strong, we will get through this!”
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