I feel Barb Johnson, nudging me, telling me these are interesting times that need to be recorded and documented.  There is no doubt we in Hope are living through history in the making.   

The World Heath Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11th.   After the Governor issued Executive Order 20-18 on March 23rd perhaps the first change felt in Hope was the extension of spring break by a two weeks.  The rationale seemed sound enough, if anyone had picked up the virus on spring break travels this would help curb the spread. The implementation of e-learning was announced.  This presented a hardship for some working parents who suddenly needed to procure child care, but everyone hoped the immediate danger would pass and school would resume on April 6th. 

Everyone was encouraged to stay home unless for essential travel, and to stock up on nonperishable food items in order to remain at home to help curb the spread of the virus.  Instead of stocking up on two weeks of supplies as recommended, hoarding began.  Toilet paper, of all things, became a hot commodity.  This was a respiratory virus, but toilet paper flew off the shelves in local stores.  A new phrase entered our lexicon, "social distancing."  We were encouraged to stay at least six feet from others to help curb the spread.   

On March 31st restaurants, bars and nightclubs were ordered to close for in-person dining.  They were allowed to stay open, but for carry out orders only.  There were no morning coffee drinkers gathered at the Corner Cafe and Tenderloin Thursday at Willow Leaves still went on, but without the normally packed parking lot.  Along with Willow Leaves and Corner Cafe, El Jefe, Whitt's Pizza and Snappy Tomato remain open for carryout as well.  Subway has been closed.  In some cases hours of operation have been reduced due to reduced traffic.

On April 6, Governor Holcomb extended the order and required all Hoosiers to stay at home if not tending to essential business. Essential activities include activities needed for sustenance, necessities of life, health, education, or employment, and as necessary to take care of others while applying social distancing requirements.Non-essential businesses were ordered to close.  Essential businesses includegrocery stores, supermarkets, super-centers or mass merchandisers (provided they have a sizable food/grocery section), specialty food stores, certified farmer’s markets, farm and produce stands, convenience stores and gas stations, pharmacies, auto sales, auto supply, auto maintenance and repair, farm equipment, construction equipment, bicycle shops, hardware and supply stores, office supply stores, club stores, building material and supplies stores.

The governor's announcement on April 6th also brought the close of in person school for the remainder of the year.  Elearning will continue through the end of the year on Friday, May 1st.  The Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation has generously continued food service through the Grab and Go program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, ensuring students who depend on school lunches are still able to receive them.   

The playground and the shelter house on the square were closed on March 20th.  Other local business and organizations that have closed due to the pandemic include the Gold Nugget Pawn Shop and the Yellow Trail Museum, the preschool at the Community Center of Hope and the Hope branch of the Bartholomew County Library.  Miller's Merry Manor is not allowing visitors and Norman's Funeral Home have limited their funeral options due to restrictions on public gatherings.  Local churches have also had to cease in person services, and are holding video or on online services.  Annual events that have been cancelled due to the pandemic include HSJ Online's annual review, Civil War Days, Miller's Merry Manor's Easter Egg hunt, and the annual alumni banquet. 

How has this pandemic affected you?  Personally, I am staying at home more, only getting out for work and grocery shopping.  My husband is enjoying more home cooked meals.  I used to enjoy working out at Pure Barre, but since it was forced to close I find myself walking more.  I have started walking in God's Acre again.  It sure is beautiful in the spring.  How have you been coping with the pandemic and shelter in place order, dear readers? 

How has all of this affected you?  Please let me know in the comments of our Facebook page, or send me an email.  I'd like to record this chapter in Hope's history for future generations who wonder why Grandma Clorox wipes everything, has a bottle of Lysol in her purse and hoards a case of toilet paper in the garage.  Stay well.