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How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Gilpinites?

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Residents answer a few questions

By Jaclyn Morrow

Normal life has been drastically changed, throughout the world since March 2020.

Those who have not previously been writers have since found the value in recording the changes in our world, our county and our communities. Some wish to remember what life was really like before we all had to put on hold what has been declared non-essential.

On January 31, 202 the Trump administration issued a public health emergency, to begin restrictions for international travel, allowing US Citizens to return home, and self-quarantine for two weeks to establish if symptoms of the corona virus emerge.

February 25, 2020 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned US citizens to prepare for a major outbreak of the respiratory infection that easily infected others being airborne. We were all reminded to frequently wash our hands for 20 seconds to kill germs we may have picked up.

March 16, 2020 Colorado casinos closed, causing a huge loss of jobs, casino recreation, and to the hospitality industry.

March 19, 2020 the US issued a lock-down to protect us all from the spread of the new coronavirus or COVID 19, closing all but “essential” infrastructure, government and businesses (non-elective health care, grocery outlets, liquor and MJ, news, telecommunications, and transportation industry).

Some suggested the lockdown would initially be for two weeks. The lock down was to reduce the spread of the very infectious disease. It hoped to verify who did and did not have COVID 19. Testing for the infection was limited, and health care professionals had limited supplies to protect themselves and others from contamination. Treatment options were still in the learning phase.

Gatherings of people were restricted to less than 10 people, schools closed and some used weekly packets of lessons or online learning to complete the school year. Parents had to work from home if their job type enabled them to do so, while other essential operations were kept working on-site, but millions of others were suddenly unemployed. Athletic events, national and community leagues cancelled, March Madness, and all entertainment ended. Barber shops closed. Take-out food from restaurants was permitted eventually, but no food or beverage service was available indoors.

The sudden change to our lifestyle has been staggering. We realize the importance of reducing the spread of the disease, but it still is a huge challenge to put a stop to what has long been established. The reset to stay home, and being unable to even travel as desired or go to public places, including outdoor recreation, has worn us all thin for the past three months.

We have to wear a face mask when encountering others or entering stores, use rubber gloves, disinfectant wipes, sanitizer, and keep six feet away from everyone.

March 27, 2020 the stimulus package was approved, intended to offer some financial support for those most devastated.

Unemployment rate reached the highest levels in a hundred years.

April 16, 2020 Trump gives individual states the authority to reopen with safety protocols.

May 20, 2020 individual states are seeking their own timeline and methods to reopen.

That is the week this reporter spoke to a few people coming and going into the Black Hawk Post Office, Eagle Mart, Holistic Homestead, and Base Camp. Each person agreed to answer four questions.

  1. What has been the hardest thing about the lockdown?
  2. What have you missed the most?
  3. What advantages have been part of this change?
  4. What have you done to keep your self in balance, to care for your own well-being?

Responses are coded: AE 1 Anonymous Employee, AE 2 Anonymous Employee, RR Recently retired, MS Michael Schiefer, CH a Gilpin Teacher, LL Linda Lehrer, JT Joe Thompson, and this reporter JS.

What has been the hardest part of the lockdown?

AE1 – hardest part is the lack of customers.

AE2 – hardest is others not working, and experiencing trauma associated with PTSD influenced by masks, fogged up glasses, freak out complications.

RR – lack of socializing in quarantine.

MS – hardest part is I can’t get my ID with courts closed, homeless. I am stuck, not knowing what I will do. It feels like the skies are closed, like being frozen in time.

CH – being still, sitting is the hardest. I need to keep moving around, to exercise. If I just sit through a day, the next day I am wiped out.

LL – hardest is the lack of physical contact with others.

JT – hardest part is seeing the lack of compassion for others, along with the unprepared response of our government.

JS – the hardest part the extra steps it takes to do what was so easy before. I struggle to feel like I am any part of the solution or hope for those who are sick, lonely or fearful. I can not comprehend the sacrifice our medical community makes to be quarantined from their families.

What have you missed the most?

AE1 – really miss the activity before the slow down.

AE2 – calm of normal life, big slow-down in business, but an increase in liquor sales.

RR – miss restaurant time and restriction for international travel.

MS – miss being busy, and the stay-in order leads to other unpredictable things. I miss being productive.

CH I – so miss the relationships with the students. I miss seeing the results of their projects. I miss the process of beginning, discovering and seeing each art project through to completion.

LL – I miss visible, physical contact like handshakes, hugs, being together with others.

JT – getting a haircut.

JS – I miss gathering with groups, going to church and having spontaneous outings.

What advantages have there been for you?

AE1 – best part is cigarettes sales are up.

AE2 – the good part is more quiet.

RR – having just moved into an RV which is self-contained, not being bound to a small indoor space.

MS – other disasters in our past have brought us together, like the tornado in Joplin, citing examples of participating with others who came together to recover. MS listed other times in recent American history when disasters came and people worked together to recover. Now, it seems God is letting us know we have to come together, while others have perpetuated divisions between people. We need to become united again.

CH – the upside is May would normally be so very hectic. I am relaxed this May, no stress of finals, gathering, displaying and returning art projects for the end of the year show. No activities added on to normal busy school days for Earth Day, no end of the year and graduation flurry of activities.

LL – the upside is finding out in our family what is really important.

JT – spending extended quality time with good people of God in a warm healthier, less restrictive rural place.

JS – the upside was the very comfortable setting we were able to be in before, so during the extending of the lockdown. We were on 90 acres of mesquite covered land on a river in sunny, warm, dry AZ, with about a dozen others, each in our own accommodations, but still working and interacting with each other frequently. Now we are back in our Gilpin Co home and feel safe to be here.

What self-care has helped you get through?

AE1 – more time for family and outdoor walks in the neighborhood, doing now what is most important.

AE2 – self-care is doing what I can with inner strength.

RR – self-care is continuing yoga with friends online, having sure hope to travel on this continent to other favorite locations.

MS – my self-care is based on optimism, being hopeful, because all is temporary. It may drag on and seem to go on forever. We are not fortune tellers. There seems to be a new disease every year, we will live through, God willing.

CH – my self-care has been having time to be with family, including graduation accomplishments, and hiking.

LL – self-care includes weekly hiking, happy home time, tailgate, bike riding, doing my outdoor thing, and gardening.

JT – eating more local fruit with the fresh citrus season.

JS – is wearing a mask, gloves, and keeping my hands away from my face to not rub and itch or hair away in public, it feels good to be considering others, to keep from spreading this disease. I am thrilled to use Zoom to share with those I would normally frequent to study God’s word, even though I was not here with them, I was still connected, so maintaining my essential wellness by relationships.

One anonymous comment simply summarized to say that we need to communicate with others instead of being secluded and withdrawn. We need to reach out the not only our friends and family, but also those who are so lonely and alone. When we do communicate, we need to avoid being heroic to fix things. Most important is to just listen, be accepting of their concerns, and accept the struggle together, only offering care and compassion.

Let me know how you are experiencing this big change in our lives.

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