Downstate residents making best of a tough situation

Shoppers leaving Walmart after filling their carts with food and other needed items Monday . (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Grasping a package of drumsticks in one hand and chicken breasts in the other, McKinley Brown neared the poultry section Monday morning.

“They said I’m over the limit so I’m taking one back,” he said from inside Redner’s Warehouse Markets.

Mr. Brown wasn’t yet aware of Gov. John Carney’s statewide stay-at-home order — announced Sunday and effective at 8 a.m. today — to lessen chances of coronavirus spreading.

“I had heard that was happening in Wilmington but not here,” he said. “Wow, that’s really something. It’s weird. It feels like the world is coming to an end, this is where it stops.

“It’s seems like this is the day the earth stood still.”

Wearing a mask due to asthma and allergy concerns, Dover’s Nancy McCoury supported the essential-only travel policy, but wondered how many would heed it.

Christine Miller and her daughters Allyson Perry (left) and four-year-old Annabelle Zakarevicv leaving the Milford Walmart after shopping Monday.

“I think it’s a great idea but how will it be enforced?” Ms. McCoury said. “Will everybody follow it if there’s no penalty if they don’t?

“Also, why are liquor stores considered essential? It’s important to have access to food, drinks and medicine, but I’m not quite sure why something like that would be allowed.”

Prompted by her daughter’s warning, Ms. McCoury began stocking up on food and beverages weeks ago, and filled all her medical prescriptions.

“I’m glad she said something because I wouldn’t have known anything until just recently,” she said. “Because of her my cabinets are filled, my freezer is packed.

“This is the most I’ve been out in two weeks since I took care of my to-do lists early on. I feel pretty fortunate for that.”

Making the best of it during a troubling global pandemic was on Caroline Kowalczyk’s mind.

Shoppers heading to their car after stocking up with food and other essentials at Lidl supermarket near Cheswold Monday.

“I’m coping, hoping and living in what’s a nerve-wracking time for a lot of us,” Ms. Kowalczyk said. “I just hope we can remain civilized and not start knocking everyone over to grab a loaf of bread.

“You’ve got to look at the bright side if that’s possible right now. I feel fortunate to have enough food, a place to stay, a nice house, my health, family, in what’s such a scary situation for us all.”

Times are tough now, but Dover’s Betty Greco knows it can be extremely worse.

“If you go back to my father and his family, they experienced the 1918 (Spanish flu), and lost seven members of the family,” Ms. Greco said.

“What he went through puts this coronavirus in perspective. I only hope this thing now doesn’t get worse.”

Taking it seriously

When Ms. Greco saw recent television footage of groups of visitors lounging on the beach in close proximity “it blew my mind. Anybody who isn’t taking this seriously is making a big mistake.”

Jean and Andy Aiken were shopping for a disabled family member.

“We’ll drop off groceries on her front porch and then leave quickly,” Mrs. Aiken said. “She’ll come out and pick them up once we’re gone. We used to go inside to help her out with things but can’t do that now.”

Mr. Aiken is concerned that “nobody knows quite what to do you if catch it and whether you will survive. There’s no medicine to cure it and it seems like they’re kind of guessing what to do about it right now.”

Redner’s parking lot was filled while customers stock up on food and other essentials Monday.

Said Mrs. Aiken, “A blizzard, everything. Nothing has ever been even close to being as bad as this is.”

Much to his surprise, Dietrich Panzia said a woman recently began yelling “I want to live. I want to live” after he stood at what she apparently considered an uncomfortable distance behind her.

“It was crazy,” he recalled.

Mr. Panzia reasoned, “I think there’s definitely a virus out there but people are overreacting.

“In New York I’ve heard that the National Guard has been activated for full mobilization and that’s overkill. Doing those type of things will cause a panic.”

In life today, there’s seemingly never enough groceries to buy, Dover’s Angela Brown said.

“Now it’s like if people see something they may not need at the moment they grab it anyway because you just don’t know what’s going to happen next,” she said. “You might not need something immediately or even soon, but you just don’t want to risk not having it there if you do need it.”

While “it’s not like you can’t be outside at all,” Charles Brown added that “at this point you have to take it very seriously. Unless you’re a healthcare worker like I am there’s really no reason to be out unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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