March 21, 2020 9:25:24 PM
A rose to the Starkville Board of Aldermen and Columbus City Council for implementing necessary, but difficult, restrictions on gatherings and businesses. Both city governments have confined restaurants to carry-out service only while restricting general business operations and social gatherings. These decisions codify into law what has been widely recommended by public health officials in efforts to suppress the spread of COVID-19. In Columbus, bars, nightclubs and fraternal/service organizations are closed until further notice. The city also issued a general curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The restrictions are almost certain to mean layoffs, especially in the restaurant and entertainment sector. Yet this decision serves the health of the community. This is not the act of a "nanny state," a charge that will be inevitable among some people. It is, instead, a case of city officials using their authority to help protect citizens.
A rose to a group of people whose contributions during this crisis may not have only been overlooked, but in some cases criticized. We are talking about our grocery store employees, who have at times been overwhelmed. For the past two weeks or so, they've worked long hours dealing with agitated customers, an uncertain supply chain and shortages of certain products that raise stress levels. These aren't high-paying, glamorous jobs, but their work in keeping us all supplied with food and other household essentials cannot be overestimated. So on your next trip to the grocery store, be sure to thank the employees you encounter. They deserve our appreciation.
A rose to Todd and Gil Vowell, owners of 19 grocery stores in Mississippi in Alabama, who have been providing free breakfasts and lunches to children at all of their locations since the beginning of last week. Max Stillman, store manager at the Starkville Vowell's Marketplace, said the owners put together the meal program themselves as an act of community service. Since last Monday, the Vowell's deli staff has been putting together 100 brown-bag breakfasts and 300 lunches and distributing them to anyone under the age of 18 who is accompanied by a parent or guardian. This program comes at a time when grocery stores, as noted, are already under tremendous stress. We believe Vowell's is setting an example other businesses should follow, each in their own way.
A rose to Allegro Clinic for its efforts in providing citizens with accurate information regarding COVID-19. Friday evening at its conference center, five of the clinic's medical staff provided information and answered questions about the virus. With so much information out there, some of it inaccurate and often contradictory, the briefing was a great opportunity for citizens to get information they can rely on from local experts.
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