My fellow Whitley County residents, I am quite proud of the way you have handled things so far during COVID-19 on so many levels.
For starters, let’s talk about our local churches.
I have to applaud our local churches and religious leaders. Even though early on most didn’t like the idea of churches closing to in-person services due to the coronavirus, pastors did it anyway because these shepherds wanted to protect their flocks.
Then our churches started getting creative.
Many turned to social media to reach their congregations and others, who don’t ordinarily attend church.
Several embraced the concept of drive-in church where people pulled into the church parking lot and listened to the services either through a loud speaker or on the radios in their vehicles. Many churches put out buckets where people could give their offering.
Even though churches can now open back up to in-person services with social distancing and other restrictions in place, many church leaders realize that they aren’t there yet and are postponing resumption of in-person services because they care about the safety of their congregations.
Every pastor that I have ever had, in addition to every preacher that I have ever spoken with, who had a church building burn or burglarized or damaged in a storm, have all said the same thing.
The church isn’t a building.
COVID-19 has enabled our local religious leaders to prove that very point, and prove it quite well.
Aside from the whole toilet paper hoarding thing early on (you know who you are), I also have to brag on our local residents too.
Pretty much no one is happy with all the shutdowns we have had in place, but aside from grumbling and some social media posts, locally we haven’t seen people gathering in large groups without masks protesting the shutdowns like is happening in other places.
By and large, many of our local residents are listening to the public health experts and social distancing and wearing masks while out in public. This is because most are responsible folks, who don’t want see people die from this virus, particularly any of our friends or loved ones.
In addition, our local government agencies have gotten creative when it comes to holding public meetings. Many are even broadcasting those meetings on social media so the public can still see what is happening in government even though many courthouses and city halls have been closed to the public due to the coronavirus.
Not only have our local government agencies been trying to meet the new letter of the law as it were in regards to meetings, but they have also tried to adhere to the spirit of the law. I can assure that this isn’t the case everywhere.
Overall, we have a really good group of government officials right now, who I think are trying to do the right thing in some unprecedented times.
Early on, Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison and Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus took some not so popular steps to close parks and playgrounds because they wanted to prevent large gathering and try to keep the virus from spreading.
I am sure I speak for many when I say it felt like we were living in an episode of the Twilight Zone at one point watching Harrison discouraging people from going outside and having fun, and Razmus advising people not to go to Cumberland Falls because of large crowds. Even though it went against their natural instincts, they did it to protect people.
While on the subject of our local government agencies, many have gone above and beyond the call of duty helping us secure documents and information during this shutdown so we can keep the public informed, and I can speak for our whole staff when I say that is greatly appreciated.