President Donald Trump on Monday encouraged all Americans to limit their socializing to groups of 10 or less in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Restaurants, retail establishments, banks, the postal service and delivery agents and churches are all having to take these unprecedented factors into consideration. As a society, and ironically in an election year most of the time, we have survived swine/bird flu, SARS, yet this is the first to stop the world in it's tracks in recent times.

Businesses such as Walmart, and the dollar stores are having runs on supplies, the people are going to the store for the first time in modern history and not finding what they need. The generations that went through the depression had the benefit of having small gardens or perhaps livestock, friends with farms to fall back on if they were fortunate. People have talked about their grandparents little quirks, such as reusing baggies, or preserving canned goods for “hard times,” but in a society where we are so accustomed to being able to get what we want with the push of a button on our phones, or stopping in the store, how will our society handle these things?

Local businesses and mom and pop shops are the most vulnerable which has a lasting impact on the entire community.

Day care centers are checking temperatures of each child and staff member as they come in the door. With children out for spring break some have noticed the normal reduction as parents take off to spend time with their children. Next week will be a better gauge as parents return to work.

They are following guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control because they do not want to close. One anonymous daycare worker said, “We do not want to close, we know that some parents are still going to have to work.”

“Room rentals are being cancelled at the East Texas Arboretum. That affects our operating budget which pays employees and utilities. Please come visit and enjoy the fresh air over 100 acres! Every entry donation or membership helps!” Deborah Deas, board member for the Arboretum said.

Some have used the lower consumer traffic as a way to catch up on tasks they previously haven't had time for.

Traci Wilkes of Reigning Jewels said “We are more diligent about disinfecting everything in the store. Older customers have their repairs brought out to them if they wish. We wash our hands after every transaction including delivery from the UPS Driver.” Her and her husband went to eat at a local establishment and were the only people there. This is having a huge impact on our restaurants and their employees.

One waitress spoke on how her restaurant is limiting the hours, number of customers and arranging them further apart. They will be working with fewer customers and under reduced hours, which will limit their income. She was concerned her position could be eliminated entirely.

Wilkes had some tips for both consumer and retailer:

Support local restaurants by ordering to-go and shop local, even if it is online. Many businesses are offering curbside service including Reigning Jewels.

With the extreme increase in consumers buying more of certain items, some local stores have adjusted their business hours during this time period.

Brookshire's - 8 a.m. To 8 p.m., Walmart 6 a.m to 11 p.m.

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