Lockdown doesn’t mean locked in

When Governor Tom Wolf ordered Pennsylvania’s lockdown on March 19, few knew what to expect.

For the first two months of 2020, the federal government was saying everything was under control. President Trump tweeted “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA, ” on February 24. Three days later, he said in a White House briefing “It’s going to disappear…One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” On March 13, the president declared a national emergency over coronavirus.

It was confusing. But when Gov. Wolf ordered a lockdown a week later, everything changed for most Pennsylvanians.

braggingAs of April 28, 2020,  more than 43,000 cases of Coronavirus were recorded in Pennsylvania, and 1,716 have died. The highest rate of infections is in the 25-49 age group. Governor Wolf will relax some restrictions May 1.

Schools wouldn’t reopen. There would be no crossing the auditorium floor to get a diploma. The most important dance for many students– the prom– was scratched. Most businesses would remain closed until– who knows when?

Green River High School (Wyoming)  senior Kass Rasmussen authored this poem–

It was supposed to be a celebration.
No boundaries.
Endless hugs.
I was supposed to hold my friends tight.
Our last hurrah.
Different colleges,
Different paths,
Our futures did not align,
But it did not matter.
In this moment we made it.
We made it all the way to
It was supposed to be a celebration.
My cap lays on the floor.
When it should be in the air.
Instead of sweat and tears of joy,
The air is humid with too many cans
Of Lysol spray.
No stage to walk across
In front of the most important people in my life.
An empty auditorium.
A disinfected diploma,
Placed from one gloved hand to another.
Can you hear the “congratulations”
Through the fabric of his mask?
It was supposed to be a celebration.
But instead it feels hallow.
What is the cost of making it?
Where are the people who got me here?
No festivities.
Our last hurrah is muffled
In news stories of death.
Maybe I don’t have it that bad.
But that day was a step.
That day.
You can skip a step in a staircase
But you may just
I will move forward
But never forget what I missed.
Call me a drama queen.
It was supposed to be a celebration.

cole mugSocial distancing became the catchphrase of the year, and tape on floors reminded shoppers to stay six feet apart. Some stores even made aisles one-way to reduce crowding. Extended families were isolated from each other. Gatherings larger than 10 were nixed. Face masks — some of which became quite trendy and design-conscious– were required in retail stores. By the way, cloth masks work, despite all the protests early in the pandemic.

Churches, eager to keep their parishioners, began online services. With no audiences allowed in studios, live TV shows became at-home productions; Saturday Night Live was no longer live. At home, paychecks stopped; unemployment benefits tried to make up the difference.

School went online. Jokes made some of us laugh, some cry, when they said homeschooling students ran the risk of being expelled or suspended by their at-home teacher. Suddenly, ‘real’ teachers were no longer the ‘bad guy’ — maybe my child really is as lazy or rude as they have been saying.

fishing alone Painterly 5Through all this, workers deemed essential kept things running. Truckers loaded their wagons and dumped them at Walmart. UPS, Amazon, and FedEx began making regular stops at homes so people could stay inside. Doctors and nurses, retail workers, grocers, and farmers worked their regular shifts– and then some.

The rest of us? Well, we had to figure out how to keep the family sane. All the home improvement that we’ve put off for months (years?) was done early, as was the spring cleaning. OK, that’s all done in a month. Now what?

People have done a lot of fishing. Walkers check their phones to be sure to get all their steps in.  Gyms are closed, and parking lots and bike trails have taken the place of treadmills. Some of the books that have been accumulating (and the dust that’s on them) have been read. Parents have become teachers and aides as students work their way through the spring term.

State and county parks in York County are open, but offices and restrooms are most often not. Prepare a Plan B for restrooms if the family is heading for an all-day party at a park. Ride bikes, become a birder, explore a new park or trail, hike, take the kayak out of storage, learn the history of the park, a building, or a trail. Check here for relaxed restrictions by Governor Wolf.

dandy blueBecause of the state-to-state restrictions, it has been suggested to stay home and not use the spare time as a vacation. Low gas prices ($2 a gallon), tempt us. But restaurants and many restrooms are closed, making a drive anywhere a bit unnerving. And Canada won’t let us in, passport or not.

Restaurants are closed, except for drive-thru service. And because no one is eating out, farmers are having ditch (literally) some of their veggies. Eating at home is becoming a habit again. More jokes, this time about the weight-gain from inactivity and boredom eating.

Coping skills? Maybe we should have been doing this anyway.

But, we’ll get through this.

Pennsylvania will begin relaxing social distancing restrictions in the Northcentral and Northwestern parts of the state beginning on May 8, Gov. Wolf said. Lower population density is key to keeping new Covid-19 cases low.

Hang in there.




2 thoughts on “Lockdown doesn’t mean locked in

    1. It’s all true, the spring cleaning is just about done. Practically all of the “to do list” is complete. More rides in the car and hikes to the parks.
      We will get there, better than some who have passed on without family by their side. And–oh my goodness–the Dr’s and nurses on the front lines, incredible dedication. Hold on tight to those around you, we ARE all in this together.


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