Strange times in Seymour

We are all Hollywood characters living in a hybrid of reality TV show and science fiction movie as the invisible Covid-19 virus swirls around us.

While some officials and citizens would prefer Seymour be a virtual ghost town, driving around the community it seems more like a Sunday than a lock-down.

Numerous restaurants are half-open. No inside dining, but cars lined up at a take-out menu sign as if it is always 10 p.m.

Driving into parking lots with strip malls, stores may appear shut, but nearer to the front doors a sign reading “We Are Open” may be spotted. Whether or not there are customers is a different manner.

We are allowed to venture out food shopping. The shelves at Jay C’s were schizophrenic one recent afternoon. There were plenty of four packs of toilet paper available, but no larger packages. There were many types of frozen foods for sale, but there were also completely empty rows.

A few dozen vehicles were parked outside the doors, and while the gathering of buyers exceeded 10 people, they were not clustered together breathing on one another. Some shoppers pushing carts wore cloth masks to avoid inhaling virus germs.

While it has been periodically commonplace for tourists, especially from Asia, to more routinely wear surgical masks, the last time Americans were so closely identified with such facial protection was the late 1800s. The James Gang and other desperadoes used bandanas for disguise when robbing banks.

Social distancing is a new phrase to Americans, but operators of stores carrying groceries, such as Jay C’s, Kroger, and Walmart, seem to be adapting to the stay-six-foot-apart definition. Jay C’s installed signs on the floor near the pharmacy, blue with white lettering, reading, “Please Wait Here” to keep people separate. Same for the checkout lines.

The president, governors and mayors generally prefer everyone stay home, in self-quarantine, but have tried to be reasonable in issuing orders closing businesses not considered essential to public safety.

Restaurants, bars, sporting events, movie theaters, were shut to prevent large-group mingling. Gun stores and liquor stores are also considered essential businesses.

All the beer you can drink (except perhaps in Mexico, where the government shut down Corona’s brewery for being non-essential, not for having an unfortunate name). And all the bullets you can shoot for well-armed hoarders to protect their toilet-paper stashes.

Whether it is ego or arrogance, some people nationwide are having trouble with the notion they may not be essential during this time of crisis.

This resulted in police raids of pastors conducting services for large congregations in Florida and Louisiana, one of whom stressed the laying-on of hands.

Hobby Lobby, the crafts chain, didn’t get the memo either, defied close-up orders in several states until police came to visit. There was defiance in shutting down a cigarette-cigar store. In the big picture, it is OK to kill yourself by inhaling, just not right now.

Golfers from Massachusetts with a Jones traveled to Rhode Island to play on a residents-only course, were busted.

Hard to top as some of the grossest violators of all: People weaponized the virus by purposely spitting on or coughing on others.

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