Information concerning COVID-19 best practices almost evolves daily. There seems to be no magic bullet solution, but rather a series of routine practices that individuals can do to lessen the coronavirus spread.
Continuous hand washing throughout the day is the first line of defense. Staying in place at home and avoiding unnecessary travel is another essential.
The town leadership continues to be concerned about second homeowners flooding the area, when a less dense population would be best for all concerned. Now several country clubs are also urging their seasonal residents not to come to the Highlands Plateau until the pandemic has subsided.
As mayor, telling people that they should not visit Highlands is not what I am accustomed to doing, but it is the right thing to do in this situation.
Another effective practice in slowing the spread is for individuals to maintain a six foot social distance zone while in public.
One question asked on my recent radio broadcast went something to the effect that surely the mayor doesn’t expect couples to maintain that social distance. My response is yes, that is when a couple and family members are on public or town property, by all means maintain a social distance. That personal action models to the community what all of us should be doing regardless of our relationship. Our police, for example, have no idea who is a family member and who is not. So, let’s keep it simple and practice social distancing when in public at our parks, streets, sidewalks, as well as in grocery stores and businesses.
At the end of last week the CDC and other agencies made the recommendation to wear masks in public places. While a mask, scarf, or bandana will not guarantee total protection, there is growing evidence that covering the nose and mouth helps prevent saliva and fluid from being emitted on surfaces and on other people. An infected person spreading body fluids is a sure path for transmission.
I hope everyone going to the grocery store will cover their face. The grocery store is a critical public venue where extreme caution must be taken. I want to thank our grocery stores for implementing the best practices in combating COVID-19.
Last week I wrote about the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program that the Highlands Chamber of Commerce was developing. The chamber now has a hotline for those who need help or want to volunteer. The number is 828-482-8200. The program can also be accessed on line at email@example.com.
As we approach the Easter Weekend let me express our thoughts and concern for those folks in the service economy who have been severely impacted by this crisis.
Joni Mitchell’s lyrics, “Don’t it always seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” captures what has befallen our hospitality and restaurant community. Please continue to support the restaurant takeout programs. Consider buying a restaurant gift card now so it can be used after the pandemic.The good news on the horizon is that they will make a better than ever comeback.
I also want to thank our police department for the hard work that they have done in manning the road compliance checks. Volunteer fire department personnel have also pitched in to assist the police, and our sanitation workers continue be on the front line by making daily collections . It’s not an understatement that when a crisis occurs the best people step forward to serve.
Thanks to all the caring people of Highlands.