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Residents imagine post quarantine life

As Virginia moves past the peak of the pandemic and looks forward to the end of Stay-at- Home orders and business closures, it will be up to individuals to decide if they are going to jump back into life as it was before social distancing was a thing, or exercise more caution moving forward.

Several individuals in the Farmville area offered their thoughts about habits they will take with them past the pandemic and how quickly they plan to assimilate into crowds.

Kelly Morgan, of Farmville, is a mother of three accustomed to a busy lifestyle, particularly this time of the year. But with a husband working at a jail in Charlottesville and a daughter who works at The Woodland, Morgan said life will not return to normal once restrictions are lifted.

“It’ll probably be a while before we go do anything because even as everything slowly reopens, where they work will not be,” she said. “So we’ll still have to be kind of socially distancing ourselves to make sure they’re not taking anything back to the nursing home and back to the jail.”

Morgan said if her family did not have those two concerns, they might do more things socially in addition to baseball in the summer and fall, but then she backed off that assertion.

“We probably would go do it sooner, but I think I still would wait,” she said. “I don’t think I would be out as soon as they said, ‘Alright, you can leave your house.’ I think I still would wait. But with their jobs, we’re going to wait longer.”

Blake Phillips of Farmville said he plans to return to life as normal as quickly as possible, but will be more wary of crowds.

“I definitely want to visit the Three Roads Brewery Taproom, but I’ll be mindful of how many people are there as well,” he said. “I most likely will not shake hands even after the Stay-at-Home Order is lifted, since the spread of the virus is still likely, and my wife is part of the at-risk population. I view my part in this as helping my community and my household stay healthy.”

John Brandt of Cumberland said he would go out and support the local restaurants, wineries and other businesses while also trying to keep the social-distancing rules.

Karen Schinabeck, a 68-year-old retired director of financial aid at Longwood University, is looking forward to going back to church.

“The first thing that I plan to do that I look forward to doing is going back to church. I have missed church. It’s not quite the same online,” Schinabeck, who is Catholic, said. I will also be happy to visit my friends at the Woodland community and go to the movies and eat out. I miss all of those things.”

She said although she is looking forward to a return of normalcy, she will be more cautious.

“In a perfect world I would not go out until there is not one single case of coronavirus in my area. But that’s like saying I’m not going to go out because there is the flu. That’s not going to happen,” she said. “It depends on how safe I think it is when the state says we can open things back up. If I think they are moving too fast, I will probably wear a mask and take precautions for a while, but if I feel like it is safe and there haven’t been any cases around for a while, then I probably won’t.”

Jenifer McCarty works as a cashier in Walmart. She said, as someone who lives by herself, she needs contact with others to feel better.

“I will definitely be calling my friends and family to meet up for a glass of wine or a good burger from one of our local restaurants,” she said. “I’m sure I will fall back into the norm of shaking hands and hugging.”

Phillips said wearing a protective mask in public has been a change he hopes goes away soon.

“It stinks to lose out on smiling at someone while at the grocery store because I’m wearing a protective mask,” he said. “We are potential threats to one another whether we like it or not so I will do my part, even if it feels different. Hopefully after the order is lifted I will not have to wear a mask, but I will be mindful of how close I get to other people while out.”

Sam and Olivia Avery of Farmville have three children, including a 2-month-old son. They said they would be a “little bit tentative” about going back to normal.

“We do go out to eat fairly often as well, but I think we’ve become pretty comfortable getting takeout now,” Sam Avery said. “It’s just one of those things where, like I said, I think we’ll be probably a little bit slower, easing into it, just because of our little one.”

The family attends Calvary Chapel in Farmville. The couple said they will likely be selective about which services they attend once church services resume.

Karl Westerhoff, a former Cumberland High School student who now lives in Lynchburg said he is ready to fire up the grill.

“When this is all over, we’re going to have a big cookout with family and friends,” he said. “We’ll still be mindful of handwashing, but we will go back to business as usual.”