To the editor: 

I would like to voice my appreciation for the workers/managers of our local stores, first responders (EMT, police and firefighters), and our health care workers who have stayed on the job in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We, the citizens of Halifax County salute you for your courage.  You have restocked the store shelves, cleaned your stores and work areas, checked out customers, provided police protection, and provided health care services for the residents of Halifax County and surrounding counties.  For providing your services to us, you have not only put yourself at risk, but also your families at risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus.  Words cannot express our appreciation.   

Governor Northam has conducted a 2 p.m. press conference to update the residents of Virginia on the latest COVID-19 numbers and ways to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus since day one of the occurrences. I am grateful for the updates, but I heard a young woman complaining that the Governor was interrupting her soap opera time. From her comment, I concluded that apparently, the COVID-19 virus had not been contracted by any of her family members, or she did not realize that she could unknowingly be asymptomatic—may or may not transmit the virus. In any case, I thought the comment she made was so foolish/selfish.  As for myself, I want to hear all the updates to determine what precautions my family needs to put in place to circumvent the spread of the virus. The Words of God states that people will perish due to a lack of knowledge. 

When I was in a couple of grocery stores shopping on Saturday, April 11, I reflected on the young woman’s comment when I entered each store to witness that 70% of the customers were without masks. Apparently, the grocery store customers had not been watching the daily updates or highlights from the Governor’s daily briefings. The customers who were without a mask also were showing the employees their selfishness/foolishness. I noticed the grocery stores had taken some necessary precautions to prevent the transmittal of the virus, but so many of the customers were not adorned with a mask or gloves. For those of you who still do not think that COVID-19 is real and our media outlets are sharing fake news, go the John Hopkins University’s website to see the number of occurrences and deaths across the globe. John Hopkins University’s website only tracks the facts without any affiliation of political parties.  

Since some individuals refuse to stay abreast of the latest precautions through the media outlets, I would like to offer a suggestion to our local stores to prevent the spread of the virus by requiring anyone entering the store to be adorned with a mask. Customers wishing to enter a store without wearing a mask should not be permitted to enter, no exceptions.  Most grocery stores are providing sanitary wipes to clean the handle of the shopping cart, but in case the service is not provided, everyone should have some gloves for pushing the cart or carrying the basket for fewer items. In the past, when I did not have gloves, I used a paper towel to wrap around the handle. We all need to take the necessary precautions to stop the virus. We do not need to cause undue stress on our health care professionals in Halifax County handling COVID-19 patients.

I challenge the citizens of Halifax County to do your part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus so we can return to a life of some type of normalcy. Together, we can make it happen. 

Sandra Garner-Coleman

District 3 and vice chair of Halifax County School Board

Vernon Hill