Except for two quick stops at the fabric store for mask fabric, I haven’t been in a big box store since March. After the spread seemed minimal in our region, I did begin going back to the grocer for the items I can’t get curbside at our local natural foods store, but that was mainly because the grocer had few curbside slots and I could never get one. Now the students are back in town and though there are signs on every building door, sandwich board signs on the sidewalks, and flashing electric message signs at both ends of “downtown” reminding students and year round residents to wear masks and practice social distancing, there are far too many who don’t. Most everyone in the grocer is wearing a mask, but often improperly or putting it on only to go through check out, or wearing a face shield without a mask, so we did a major non perishable run early in the week and will try to get curbside delivery slots in the future when we need to shop again, now that they have more of them.
The safer shopping sites are the local natural foods store and though I try to use their curbside delivery as much as possible, I have gone in the store a few times during slow hours. To help reduce the virus spread, you have to get an employee to fill any bulk item and herb/spice items you need, so they prefer pre-ordering, even if you elect to go in the store to pick up the items. I feel they are still a “safe” place. Right after the stay at home order was put in place, the Farmer’s Market closed for a while, but with some of the phases lifted, they are open and trying to control the volume in the market at one time. They have put crowd barrier fencing around the market and have someone who monitors the exits and entrance to keep the number of people inside at or below 50 customers plus the vendors. It is an outdoor market. There are chalk arrows drawn to try to direct traffic and the first hour is for pick up of pre-orders only. A couple of the vendors that I shop don’t have pre-order option that I have found and sometimes I’m not sure what I want until I see what is available on their signboard or in their bins to make my decision. As a result, I can’t use the early hour and try to get there just as it ends. I have suggested a senior citizen’s hour, or to let those of us who are over 70 to shop during the pre-order pick up hour, because if you pre-order, your items are separated and held aside for you so it doesn’t really matter when you go. This morning, in spite of it raining from Laura passing through, there was already a line of about a dozen people waiting to enter when we got there. I stood in the light rain in my raincoat and waited my turn. Once inside, there were too many people not heeding the arrows and walking between stands or around them, going out the entrance, and just standing in the walk through aisles, not walking on through. It no longer felt safe to me. I don’t want to lose that option, but I may have to either let it go or use only the pre-order and not shop the vendors that don’t do it.
As we were driving back out of town, there were huge groups of students, standing close together, some without masks, waiting to get in some of the restaurants that serve breakfast. Hubby and I have a bet on how long it will be before the University has to go back to online classes only and the local public schools shut their doors and become virtual again. We wonder if the opening of schools across the state will throw us back to a Phase 1 lock down.
I did treat myself to a bouquet of fresh flowers along with my veggies, cheese, butter, and sausage.