Taking care of business during COVID-19

The shelves at Kroger on W 1st Drive are bare during the pandemic. Shoppers are asked to practice social distancing and keep six feet away from one another.

On March 13, the Illinois Board of Education announced schools would close until the end of March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after, Illinois’ governor J.B. Pritzker ordered a shutdown for non-essential businesses to be closed until April 7. Business owners, employees, and citizens alike are impacted with the stay-at-home order.

“You would think people would leave enough for others instead of taking cartfulls of things they obviously don’t need for a supply of 3-4 weeks.” A Macon County local said while in the meat section of the store. “I’ve been to two different stores, and there has not been a single case of water or a roll of toilet paper.” 

Businesses who can’t have their employees work in their offices, either have their hours cut slim to none or they work from home.

“Compared to working from home prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the current reality offers more potential distraction, even for those who are no stranger to working from home. The workload or the type of work is still the same. The expectations are still the same. All that is different is where I’m doing my daily work,” School Board President and Meridian parent Chris Jones said. Jones works as an IT employee for ADM.

”My dad grew up in the Depression Era & during World War II, so it’s interesting to see how he perceives this since he’s experienced and lived through things that an increasing majority of our country’s population have not,” Jones said.

Pritzker describes prohibited activities which include: “All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusements rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concerts and music halls, and country clubs or social clubs shall be closed to the public.” 

To prevent the spread of the virus and remain open, essential businesses’ efforts include everything from sanitizing shopping carts with disinfectant to remaining a mandatory six feet away to conduct a transaction. Not only have people’s lives been impacted, their spirits have been, too.

“Business at the bank is slow. We are only allowed to help customers through the drive up. We have to wear gloves when handling money because the virus can be transferred on bills. We have to spray the branch down and wash our hands once an hour. The microphones and drive up tubes have to be cleaned once an hour as well,” Athena Moyer, Meridian parent said. “I worry about the small businesses that are no longer able to open who have no income and that I might bring something home to my family. All you can do is pray we all make it through this.”

Stores have to put restraints on certain items as well as specific times elderly people can come shop without fear of exposure to the virus. 

“As a CVS store manager, I have a heavy burden to ensure my team is safe. I worry a lot about if my team has enough equipment to stay safe. We get a truck once every two weeks but as soon as we receive it, it goes right out to the floor,” Andrew Heidemann said. ”For the elderly we offer free shipping on medication and any merchandise purchases on the company website.

Illinois’ Governor’s Stay At Home Order. https://www2.illinois.gov/IISNews/21288-Gov._Pritzker_Stay_at_Home_Order.pdf