In order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States, the CDC has released several social distancing recommendations to inform people about healthy behavior. The main recommended practices, including staying six feet away from other people at all times, not gathering in groups and avoiding crowded places, seem straightforward and easy to follow, but many people around Bloomington have not followed these guidelines.
Part of the problem might be that, since Bloomington is fairly calm and quiet, it doesn’t seem like it’s in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s hard for people to take the crisis seriously enough to drastically break routine for it. This is especially true because social distancing can be boring and lonely. Given that school barely exists right now and that the weather is so mild, this would, under normal conditions, be the perfect time to hang out with friends.
The temptation is understandable, but considering how deadly this pandemic has been, it’s vital to follow all of the government’s recommended guidelines and to not take any chances. As of April 10, the Johns Hopkins’ live COVID-19 map showed that the United States was just shy of reporting half a million cases, and the global death toll had just passed 100,000. And yes, going outside to get some fresh air is still allowed under Governor Holcomb’s lock-down order, but the key stipulation is that you still must follow social distancing guidelines if you do so. Going for a walk isn’t social distancing if you’re two inches from your friends’ face!
However, the other reason that not everyone around town has been able to consistently follow social distancing guidelines is that it’s sometimes very hard to do so. We all need to get food, medicine, etcetera, so although compressed supermarket checkout lines, narrow store aisles, and contact with cashiers are not safe, we have no choice but to violate social distancing recommendations when we go on necessary errands.
Thankfully, many businesses around Bloomington have established various social distancing measures to keep their customers as safe as possible. Most of the restaurants and cafes
that have remained open through the health crisis have instituted curbside pickup to limit close contact and the number of people who wait, closely packed, in a small, indoor space. Online ordering or calling up to order is now frequently either the only way to order food or drinks, or at least highly recommended. In larger retail stores like Kroger and Walmart, directions on floors limit how closely customers stand together and to cashiers, Target has begun to frequently disinfect their checkout stations and shopping carts, and cloth masks are an increasingly common sight.
Moving forward, it’s imperative to follow all current and future social distancing recommendations and to try to limit food and supply shopping to necessary trips only. Most importantly, share the toilet paper!