With Coronavirus (COVID-19) coverage, it feels as though much more time has passed since first seeing ghost-town-like scenes of normally crowded cities in China. It’s hard to believe how much has happened in only a couple of weeks of global awareness. However, it eventually
reached close to home, impacting Montgomery County, Pa., along with cases even closer. While out and about, taking care of the usual errands, I had only seen on person wearing a mask over the mouth and nose. But in terms of items to buy, one local grocery store I shop at had been short on 12-pack of toilet paper for several trips. They’d have 4-packs or a lot of single rolls. On Wednesday, March 11, the water bottle shelves had much less than the usual amount out on shelves as well. Back at the store yesterday, the shelves were worse, including the bread aisle. But, note, there were 12-packs of water – for $24! Two of my cousins posted their photos of store signs listing limited items, including hand sanitizers and
It wasn’t until back home from Wednesday’s grocery trip that I found out an excursion into Philadelphia to visit the UPenn Museum had been
cancelled. I signed up with a Meetup group for my first time going to this particular attraction in the city, scheduled as part of free museum day around the country. Then, I was planning to take a train to get to UPenn. However, notices from both the Meetup event organizer and the Smithsonian, where I got my ticket online, informed me of the cancellation due to growing health concerns. Before getting word of that, I was figuring I should wear a mask and gloves.
On Friday, March 13, I decided to go to Ridley Creek State Park and after multiple attempts to get a parking space, I was finally on-foot,
trekking through nature. My goal was to check out a path I hadn’t taken there before and that, in turn, led to coming across a trail going off from a paved road. I’ll share photos from that hike in an
upcoming post. Anyway, with the parking difficulty, I almost gave up and headed home. I’m glad I didn’t, not only for having new hiking
experiences, but also because of what I found out on Facebook. Someone posted in a nature group page about state parks in the Montgomery
County area that were closed or would be closing soon as a result of Coronavirus. Another person commented, including Ridley Creek State Park, although it’s within Delaware County. A third person commented to include a link to DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources) and info on that park’s closing, which began today, March 16. The memo went out on Friday, which was a nice day as well; the
warmest day in the local area for this year and with so many businesses closed, people wanted to get out and enjoy nature. I wasn’t sure if I’d get back to the park over the weekend, so this past Friday was my last time for at least a little while.
Also, among locations of the gym I’m a member of, one in Montgomery County had already closed as this emergency continues. Where I go, along with at others, the kids’ section had been closed for now. That was until this past Saturday evening, when full closures included my gym location, others and local businesses in general. Another fitness challenge is underway and this time, I’m struggling to break through a plateau. While the gym temporarily isn’t an option, I’m carrying on and doing what I can to exercise at home and possibly any outdoor places that remain open. That’s also my part of social distancing for the time being.
Upon hearing that restaurants in several Pennsylvania counties were ordered to close, I’m awaiting word on another Meetup event. This one
is with a group to go to Talula’s Table in Kennett Square. The last I heard from the organizer is that the restaurant remains open. However, that was before the dining closures in effect now. So, I’m not sure where that stands at the moment.
Aside from physically going anywhere, something that got to me had to do with emails I began to receive from various businesses. Restaurants
and department stores were among them; I had never seen this before, coming from all directions. On one hand, these messages helped to know what efforts are being taken; yet on the other, it added to my own Coronavirus concerns. It was coming down to the everyday places;
precautions became necessary without traveling all over the country or abroad. People in distant countries and in the U.S. have died; others
have tested positive. From what I’ve seen in the news, depending on an individual’s overall health, they survive or sadly become fatalities.
Not only has that been scary, but so has the coverage regarding numbers of and access to test kits. I’m hoping this pandemic can be overcome before more people fall ill and even die.
In terms of horrible events that have major impact on travel, I was thinking about my online tourism course. There wasn’t much textbook
information covering the spread of disease. One chapter had a brief mention of SARS. Another had a section focusing on food-related illnesses and preventative measures with proper handling, preparation and storage. The textbook index listed items such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as safety (food service,
general need). However, it didn’t list these: disease, epidemic, health, pandemic, World Health Organization.
Although my textbook didn’t cover this type of situation in-depth, the ripple of Coronavirus on the travel industry and many others appears
impossible to measure. I know that world leaders will have to and are working on plans to save people and the economy. Not only political
figures, but also medical and business experts in this case. However, just being an average citizen, I can’t help but wonder how we come back from this type of problem and on a global level. When something bad happens in this day of social media, the amount of coverage adds to such thoughts. There’s the issue of accurate and inaccurate info among posts on various platforms, especially looking for the best
steps to take toward bouncing back. We have to bounce back and be able to return to normal, or as close to that as possible. I write “as close to that as possible,” only because this is a life-changing
problem all over the world; from everyday habits to health-related safety procedures by industries. It makes me think of how people say pre- and post-9/11 regarding security measures; now, pre- and post-Coronavirus in terms of efforts to keep surroundings healthy.
Stay healthy and safe everyone.