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From Wuhan to Bartlett, Local Business Feels the Anxiety Over Covid-19

by Ben "BenQQ" Harrison

(Bartlett 3.30.20)...

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Thanks to the tech capacity to track viruses better than ever, experts are learning new things constantly about this “novel” or new virus. Recently researchers could say the virus only killed older persons especially with “underlying conditions.” The most recent news: it can infect and kill younger persons as well.

Everybody who gets the virus regardless how sick they get, spreads it. One apparent consensus from the experts: its going to get worse before it gets better. Currently nobody knows how much worse or how much better for sure.

On the opposite side, there is a debate propelled by the that the World Health Organization ginned up bad numbers to cause a global panic. But what is not debated is the virus exists, it kills people and is spreading. I'm thinking for the first time since a world war Americans are being asked to expect possible big numbers of compatriot deaths. (240,000 yesterday from White House Coronavirus Task Force)

Local businesses from Kroger Grocery Stores to my small computer repair shop can be the first community receptors where Corona meets people. Whether they can keep a safe social distance rule is dependent on their space, customer traffic and service habits. Nomatter what, you don’t want to make personal acquaintance Mr C. I wrote that paragraph two weeks ago. Now that safe social distance has extended to shutting down most businesses through September.

Safe distancing as well as quelling panic among clients are the Covid-19 concerns at Gentle Care Animal Hospital. Cari Vermillion, Hospital Manager said they are feeling the public anxiety of pets and Coronavirus.

“People are calling to stock up on meds,” said Vermillion. “First of all that is not necessary and second we cannot deplete our supply for patients who actually need it.”
Vermillion said, “Humans do not transmit to animals and animals do not transmit to humans as far as we know.” Continuing, “Animals can have the virus on their coats, but fur can be washed off with soap and water.”

Just to illustrate how fast information shifts with Covid-19, the Daily Mail reported on March 20 two dogs in Hong Kong contracted the virus. One has died. [story link:] The Mail reported the Hong Kong government is saying there is no evidence that pets can be source of the virus, to not abandon them but do stop kissing them.

As far as the safe distance rule, Cari explained people can keep their space and wait in the large front area and in separate examination rooms. Further, she emphasized pet owners not to come in with “non-emergencies” such as grooming and nail trimming.

Previous to the general shutdown businesses were taking steps, but even then few imagined closing through April. “picture of Alejandra Perez Palmitas RestaurantWe’re taking extra precaution regularly disinfecting surfaces that are touched frequently like door handles and menus,” then said Lupe Perez, owner of his family run Las Palmitas Mexican Restaurant. “We made sure to stock up on disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer.”

In business for 11 years at Summer Ave and Stage Rd, the small restaurant is a favorite of Bartlett locals.

picture of Shane White of Mad Hatter Teas and GiftsAnother walk-in staff-to-customer business is Mad Hatters Teas and Gifts, a retail business that sells hemp, botanical and art products. Interviewed before the shutdown, manager Shane White (picture) said:, “We are not the type of business to have customers lining up when we open. We’re not that type of business. Besides, our space is large enough to let people stand apart.” Unless CBD is declared essential, they are now closed for April. Previously they had started their own curb service to customers who knew what they wanted. Now, not even that.

Ppicture of Bartlett Music Academy staffrevious to the shut down, keeping customers, in this case students, at a safe distance also was a mission at Bartlett Music Academy.  With 19 instructors, owner Melissa Moore said they are using platforms like Skype and Zoom to deliver lessons for the short term to start. (Pictured right: Ben Montoya, Mellissa Moore, Sandy Murphree )

The staff pulled sheet music orders themselves so as not to collect a crowd. Not to be deterred by downtime, Moore said they will be revamping the store interior as well.

Fighting Coronavirus brings to mind the classic calls of unity and action in our wars against common enemies. One medium for those messages was the posters that recruited soldiers, workers and everyday people to do the right thing. These posters reminded us it was patriotic to do even the smallest things to defeat the enemy.

Perhaps we need a Rosie the Riveter poster to motivate us to do the right things in this new kind of microbial war.

War Production Poster Coronavirus

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