Since mid-March, Maury County has been practicing increasing levels of social distancing.
On March 16th, the mayors of Columbia and Maury County, along with Maury County Schools Superintendent, held a joint press conference and announced several closures and cancellations across the county. This included closing schools until April 24th and canceling Mule Day events.
On March 19th Maury Regional Health announced a “No-visitation” policy at its area hospitals. “This is an unprecedented time for health organizations across the country. We must make every effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, and this new visitation restriction is part of our continued response,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Alan Watson in a prepared statement that can be found on their website.
Since then, the parking lot at the hospital in Columbia has been noticeably emptier than usual. Just another visual reminder of how life has changed during this pandemic. The doors leading into the hospital have printed notices asking people to report symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or flu-like symptoms, along with any travel within the last 14 days. Signs like these are common all over the place right now. Many medical offices will prompt patients to call from their car, allowing the staff to triage symptoms and minimize exposure to healthy patients inside.
One of the challenges of schools moving to online platforms is the fact that many areas in our county do not have reliable access to internet service. In an effort to meet this need, several WiFi Hotspots have popped up around the county. In Spring Hill, Police cars are acting as hotspots. Allowing students to access online schoolwork. Several Maury County Schools also have WiFi that can be accessed from the parking lot. While these options do not give speeds required to stream videos, it does help provide access to the online resources for students.
Many businesses have closed in the face of social distancing and the orders for Tennesseans to stay home to help flatten the curve. On an average weekday, parking spots around the square in downtown Columbia are packed, with cars circling for the next available spot. However, these past couple weeks, the square has been virtually empty. The same goes for many places around the county. This is a good sign that people are taking this seriously and following the order. Yet, it leaves us feeling the weight of what is happening and the fact that so many are facing the reality of not having jobs.
While many places have closed altogether, plenty of restaurants have shifted gears and begun offering curbside pickup or delivery. Some even offering alcohol to-go with food purchases, thanks to the loosening of regulations at the state level.
Now that it has been announced that schools across the state have been canceled for the remainder of the 19/20 school year, many people’s attention have turned towards the graduating class of this year. Many proms, dances, and graduation ceremonies have been rescheduled for later in the summer, but there remains questions as to whether they will even be able to happen at that point.
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