Page 35 - ActsCOVID-19_and_Me
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                Before the pandemic, I came and went via the rear Manor House entrance and exit. The decal on my windshield triggered the opening mechanism on the gate, needing no human interaction. However, new regulations mandated I could only enter and exit through the front Welcome House gates. As I stopped at the entrance, a masked employee approached the car with an iPad. She asked me to identify myself and tell her where I had been,
and she took my temperature. My off-campus activities recorded, the attendant allowed the gate to lift and my excursion was over. The experience was a little reminiscent of films of checkpoints in Europe during World War II. My feeling of control was short-lived. When I moved to Manor House three years earlier, I could never have imagined this, as it was not even a gated community then.
Two days of permitted travel evolved into four. As I thought about my next off-campus trip, the anticipation of freedom was different from the first time. Health officials cautioned the virus was still active, and my thoughts turned to questions I had briefly considered before. Will my destination be safe? Will I come into contact with a large number of people? Will they be wearing masks? Dollar stores, antique malls, shopping malls, restaurants, and gift shops seemed hazardous locations.
Before entering a business, I had to consider the risks. After pondering the situation, I decided the only places I should go were the places I deemed necessary. Needing items I didn’t find on my first shopping trip, my next destination was Walmart.
A masked associate at the entrance wiped down carts. As in the grocery store, cleaning supplies were unavailable. A few products, including toilet paper and dishwashing liquids, waited to be purchased. I spotted hand sanitizer wipes and liquid hand soap, unavailable a few weeks ago, and added them to my cart. I felt a bit of optimism that, perhaps, things were getting better. While there, I took the time to survey the surroundings. To my surprise, all the bicycles had found owners. The sewing aisles left few choices, and only a few bolts of fabric leaned against each other. A pincushion was on my list. It was still on the list as I exited the store.

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