Everyday life as Americans knew it just a few weeks ago has taken on a whole different look in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
All across Wagoner County, business owners are modifying their services and operating hours and many employees are working from home to help prevent the spread of the virus. Social distancing is becoming more of the norm as people try to keep space between themselves and others.
Dozens of restaurants throughout Coweta and Wagoner are currently offering curbside and delivery service to help flatten the virus curve. It is suggested for residents to call ahead and see if in-person dining is still an option, and to plan accordingly.
Not only are individual meals available from most eating establishments, but some are now offering convenient take-and-bake items to have a complete meal ready for the family. This has become a popular option for many.
At the present time, in-person dining is still available at a number of locations.
Angie Coward with Boom-a-Rang Diner in Wagoner said customers who dine in at their establishment will receive a single use menu and pre-packaged condiments such as salt, pepper and ketchup.
“Whatever is left on the table has to be thrown away, so we minimize what we take to the table. We also disinfect as soon as people get up,” Coward said. “Our customers are still walking in and they have been very patient with us.”
She said should Boom-a-rang be required to shut the dining room down, they will offer both curbside service and delivery. All of those orders must be pre-paid with a credit card and information is entered straight into the cash register system.
Some people are already utilizing the restaurant’s curbside pickup option.
“If people do not feel comfortable coming in, we will take it to them,” Coward noted.
For businesses that have a drive thru, that is another way patrons can obtain items with minimal exposure to others.
Some of the busiest locations in communities have been grocery stores, where people are trying to shore up their supplies to have on hand at home. Some of the fastest moving items are meats, dairy products, bread, non-perishable items, water and cleaning supplies.
Over the course of the past few weeks, shelves are being depleted about as quickly as they can be stocked.
On March 15, Walmart changed their hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Since that time, it has been changed from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
“In unprecedented times like these, we’re doing everything we can to serve thousands of communities across the United States,” a press release from Walmart Corporation states. “We’re taking preventive measures to keep our stores clean and maintain a healthy environment. We’re working to keep products stocked and prices fair.”
For the majority of retail businesses, shop owners have ramped up their efforts to increase online sales opportunities and expand product lines to meet consumer needs while practicing social distancing.
Local churches are also heeding the need to exercise social distancing. The majority of them have moved worship services and other church-related activities online, either through their own websites or on their social media pages.
While churches are being innovative with thinking outside of the box for keeping their congregations engaged, the First United Methodist Church of Coweta is adding another dimension.
On Friday, Pastor John Miller was at the church sanitizing hymnals with disinfecting wipes so church members can check them out and take them home to use during online worship.
“Hymnals are both a symbolic and practical part of worship for many, and we want to make sure they can continue to participate in worship during this time of physical separation,” Miller said.
Supporting friends and neighbors through local businesses, churches, civic groups and organizations will be essential as communities navigate through these uncertain times.