Many Adjustments Required in our “New Normal” Lives!

The Corona Times – April 20, 2020

by Rhonda Gunter

We know about the suspension of in-person school attendance and the switch to online education.  We know about state mandates against gatherings of more than 10 people, which effectively ends church services outside the virtual versions.  We know about the ban on visitation in nursing homes and hospitals.  This is just the beginning of the changes made to our usual activities. 

Enforced modifications to our lives are much more far reaching.  Adjusting to our “new normal” during this pandemic means coping with the absence of services to which we have become accustomed.  Some of us are already in dire need of haircuts and manicures; I really miss my dog’s regular grooming appointment!  Many folks miss their community’s Public Library and must find alternative sources for reading material, Wi-Fi, and other services.  Activities for older people at the Senior Citizens Center are suspended, although those folks may pick up lunch. 

We’ve had to adjust to the closing of our favorite restaurants – or call in our orders to those restaurants offering curbside pickup.  A few restaurants have begun delivery, mostly for larger orders or within certain distance parameters.  No. 3 Grill, Bonnie and Clyde, and Southern Ridge are just a few of the establishments delivering their fare to businesses or homes. 

Grocery stores have adjusted hours, and have rules to limit the number of customers and distance them within the store.  Banks and utilities are doing business online or at the drive-through only.  Businesses or offices not on the Governor’s “essential” list have closed to the public; a few will accept appointments, and some have curbside service.  Clothing stores are shut down. 

Many businesses or events of a seasonal nature have delayed their openings.  These include Happenings at The Orchard, Switzerland Café, summer classes at Penland School of Crafts, and Emerald Ridge.  And just when spring is coming, access to national forests and parks, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, is curtailed or still uncertain.  Thank goodness our county has a good number of walking trails so we can get out for fresh air.  

Annual events we have looked forward to each year in Mitchell County have been canceled or postponed.  These include: 

  • Mitchell County Historical Society’s History Bee
  • The Rhododendron Festival
  • Casting for Hope Fly Fishing competition
  • Blue Ridge Partnership for Children Child Fest
  • Mitchell High’s Performing Arts presentation of “Chicago: High School Edition”
  • Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce Spring After Hours event
  • The Kiwanis April Fish Fry
  • Town of Spruce Pine’s Fire on the Mountain Blacksmith Festival
  • Mayland Community College Plant Swap & Shop
  • Mitchell County Animal Rescue’s Spay-Ghetti fundraising dinner
  • Special Olympics programs through May
  • Toe River Arts June Studio Tour

These sacrifices are not easily made, but giving up these festive events will surely be worth it if we can limit the extent of contagion in our communities.  Hopefully, in a month or a few, we will be able to return to a semblance of our previous lives.  We definitely have something to look forward to!  I know that I will never take for granted these important aspects of life. 

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About the Numbers

You will note a series of numbers contained in the blog. They document the spread of virus through confirmed cases by the federal Centers for Disease Control and by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These are the official totals provided by state and local government at the date of the post and do not include estimates or cases not confirmed by these agencies. This is our effort to provide an accurate gauge of confirmed virus spread as it continues during the pandemic.


Cases in North Carolina


Deaths in North Carolina


Current Hospitalizations
in North Carolina


Cases in Western North Carolina


Cases in Mitchell County


Deaths in
Western North Carolina


Cases in the United States


Deaths in the United States

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