COVID-19 Effects on Tucker County

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

Many changes have been happening statewide due to the Coronavirus pandemic that is taking a toll on many small businesses. With restaurants, hair and nail salons, bars, and many public service facilities being shut down or limited to encourage social distancing, we reached out to some of the essential businesses that are keeping their doors open during this crisis.
Preston Taylor II Pharmacy in Thomas stated, “As of right now everything is going well.” Pharmacy Tech Brittany Carr said that some of their over the counter medicines such as Benadryl, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen are not in stock, however other medications are still on their shelves.

Dianna Kachmarek, Pharmacist at Community Care in Parsons said, “We’re just very busy.” She admitted that they are having trouble keeping up and they too are experiencing some over the counter medications along with hand sanitizer cannot be kept in stock.

Pharmacy Tech Kayla Wood at Walgreens in Parsons said they are fully stocked relating to their medications with no concerns. “Our truck delivers every day,” Wood stated. “We’re not expecting any trouble getting medications,” she added. Earlier that day, a truck arrived delivering hand sanitizer but was gone as soon as it was put on the shelves.

Parsons Shop N’ Save manager Greg Burner stated that from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. they are asking that only senior citizens, handicap, and disabled citizens visit the store to shop. “We’ve been announcing it here at the store and sent information to the Senior Center to get the word out,” said Burner. As far as inventory, hand sanitizer and paper goods are going out the door as fast as they come in. The grocery truck is currently delivering on the same schedule; however, their orders are requesting a greater volume of goods. So far, Burner said they haven’t had any trouble getting their needed items; they just aren’t staying in stock very long.

When asked what the store was doing to increase protection for the workers and shoppers, Burner said, “This store does a tremendous job on a regular basis,” though now they are going above and beyond the call of duty. The cashiers and other workers are constantly wiping and disinfecting the kiosks, belts, cooler handles, and any touch points accessible to the public.

Nicole Lipscomb of Jim’s All Star in Bretz said they too are constantly bleaching surfaces, washing their hands and using hand sanitizer. She said that after every few customers, the employees are going through the store and using bleach and Lysol on every surface touchable. Employees are being told that if they do not feel well or are afraid for their well being to not report to work, but Lipscomb said all six employees have been working diligently during this time. The store is out of toilet paper and is being limited on its delivery along with paper towels. They also do not have any hand sanitizer and the bread is being purchased as soon as it is placed on the shelves. Jim’s receives a grocery truck once per week, bread three times per week, and gas four times each week.. “So far all of our delivery people have told us our deliveries are good,” said Lipscomb. “We’re being cautious but not freaking out over this,” she concluded.

Mt. Top Citgo, also referred to as “Doc’s” in Thomas are performing similar practices to take precaution. “We are doing what we normally do for the flu just more often,” stated Crystal Shoemaker. She said they are sanitizing sometimes as often as every 30 minutes and are attempting to limit the amount of people in the store at one time to a maximum of 10 per CDC recommendations.

Shoemaker noted an over flow of out of state visitors who have told her they are coming to the area to “vacation because their kids are out of school.” Shoemaker also noted the kitchen has been serving fewer customers, however at the end of the day the sales seem to be about the same. “It’s been pretty steady,” she said on the convenient store side. They are down to single rolls of toilet paper and are out of bread. They receive deliveries on Tuesdays and Fridays and so far have not had to limit their customers.

Chief Financial Officer Garet Bishop offered this statement on behalf of the three BFS stores within the county. “First, and foremost, the health and safety of our team members and customers is our highest priority. The challenge is to ensure everyone’s safety while also providing an essential service to the community. This is a fluid situation and we monitor it constantly to ensure we are taking the proper precautions and actions. We continue to communicate best practices as determined by the CDC to all employees and provide the necessary supplies and resources to ensure their safety and the safety of the customers.”

Bishop said “Medical staff and emergency personnel make a heroic effort putting themselves in harm’s way to provide safety to the community. Our team members are heroes in their own right as they continue to stand on the front lines through this time and provide the needed services to our community. I could not be more appreciative for what they are accomplishing.”

“Yes, sales are down, but our concerns are not sales. Our concerns are keeping people safe, providing the community access to resources and services they need, and keeping our team members employed. We do not have any inventory or supply issues for items on the shelves or in the tanks. The store will remain stocked and the tanks will not run dry. Again, our team members deserve all the thanks in the world and together we will meet this challenge.” stated Bishop

It is not recommended to wear a mask unless you are showing symptoms. For the most accurate and up to date information regarding COVID-19, please refer to www.CDC.gov or www.dhhr.wv.gov for statewide statistics.

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