By Terri Lynn Oldham House
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern.”
On Jan. 31, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the virus a public health emergency.
On Feb. 26, Rhonda Webb, CEO of the Pagosa Springs Medical Center, activated the district’s emergency operations plan for a pandemic.
On March 14, when Gov. Jared Polis closed down Wolf Creek Ski Area right at the start of the biggest week of spring break, our tourist-based economy came crashing down.
Two days later, a public health order closed bars, restaurants, theaters and casinos statewide.
Things have certainly changed in our community since then. We have witnessed an amazing resilience in our community.
This week we reached out to The SUN’s Facebook followers and asked: “How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your life?”
The following are some of the unedited responses that we’ve received.
Judith Farnam shared, “I think it is hard. We tend to choose what we believe and go with it. As a country, we tend to be pretty spoiled. Lots of freedom, ability to travel, etc. Then that just went away. I decided to try to embrace the change. I’m a nurse and believe in science. Do I love wearing a mask? No, never did, but I wear one. I stayed home and did my best. Developed more strategies for coping. Do I miss my family who don’t live close? Absolutely! My motto became stay calm and carry on. I have spent lots of time making masks, gardening and trying to make the best of it.”
Cindy Lucero wrote, “Not finding lysol disinfectant spray is the only thing thats got me in a sling , what happened to it. I think because it works they did away with it.”
Deirdre Denali Rosenberg added, “Avoiding places we normally would go, because of so many from out of state. And just being pretty shocked by how nasty and cruel neighbors are being with each other for pretty much no reason.”
Barbara Munro shared, “The biggest change we have experienced so far from COVID-19 is no traveling. We canceled going to Spring training in Arizona, an RV trip to WDW, and a steamboat cruise. I love Pagosa Springs, so it’s not a bad place to be when you have to stay home. We have tried to support local businesses, in a limited capacity, however, we do not support any business that does not enforce the governor’s mandate to wear masks.”
Carla Taylor added, “Not much, but have supported my local restaurants, by carryout/ curb side pick up. I feel really bad for all the small businesses.”
Misty Carrasco wrote, “Nothing really for my family. Just the inability to go anywhere without a mask and being criticized if you don’t have one on. And also the hate that has risen in people. Its horrible how even a small.town like pagosa has become so hateful.”
Katelyn Lopez shared, “I do my part and wear a mask because I care for humanity even now more than ever. During the first shutdown I was out of work from March 16-May 27th and still have anxiety of the fear of shutting down again. I bartend and serve here in town and it’s been a tough summer just getting back into the swing of things. As a community during the shutdown people really came together to suppet local businesses. People have been hateful but there has been a lot of good from covid. So let’s not forget about our community and that we will always come out stronger from difficult times.”
Leila Johnston responded, “Katelyn Lopez , pm me where you work!! We will stop in for a cocktail.”
Jan Havens shared, “I pretty much stay home. Cautious because of health issues. God bless my daughter, she does almost all shopping and errands.”
Nikki Taylor wrote, “Its brought the meanest, self entitled group of tourists here in an effort to escape their own conditions at home. They have no regard for our county environmentally, they are rude to our service personnel and somehow believe that w/out them Pagosa would be nothing. The massive influx has changed our town drastically and therefore has changed life here for locals. I think we would have seen much more community unity and concern had there not been such massive influx. So much second home ownership has not helped either. Money is not God. Pagosa could have been so much more than a tourist trap. Or a Coronavirus escape destination.”
Suzette Peak noted, “True test of humanity. Many passed. Epic fail for the rest!”
Tammy Boen wrote, “I go about my everyday life. I do the same thing every day. I go to work and I come home. I go to bed and start all over again the next day. The only thing that has really changed is is having to wear a mask 10 hrs a day and having to deal with the stupidity of those who can’t give up a few minutes of having respect for the safety of others.”
Sally Logee Neel added, “We retired from ministry after spending the past 12 years at St Patrick’s Episcopal Church. It was sad not to be able to give hugs to our beloved friends. Lack of physical contact was particularly hard as we are a hugging congregation!”
Jenny Iguchi shared, “HUGS! I miss giving and receiving HUGS!”
Kameron Averitt Swithin added, “I fully respect all of the new rules, and I want to protect my neighbors! But, it breaks my heart when my 3 year old cries when I tell her that she can’t give someone a hug…”
Anita Rowe Hinger chimed in, “I clean my house for ‘entertainment.’ But seriously, I make a more conscious effort to be thankful and not take connecting with others for granted. I’m getting better at shutting out people who speak /post negativity and toxicity. Even these current circumstances can end up being the best thing that ever happened, depending on mindset. I’m determined to make it so!”
Jeff Switzer wrote, “We have not been able to come back to visit friends in Pagosa. That was part of our plan when we moved last year! Jeff and Betty”
Rhonda Webb added, “How has it not changed my life would be a shorter answer.”
Beth Anderson Einig shared, “I really miss dancing to Tim Sullivan!!”
Lora-Jean Wilson wrote, “I have many friends who caught the virus and who have passed away from it. A friend of mine passed away from Covid last week leaving her daughter’s behind as a single mom.”
Kimberly Jean White added, “We haven’t felt comfortable traveling so haven’t been able to see our kids in California.”
Annie Stone shared, “I have taken the isolation time to learn & create. I’m a weaver & I’ve tried & made a lot of new things. I also miss my friends sorely.”
We received so many answers that we don’t have room to print them all this week. We will share more next week. Until then, be safe and wear your mask, if you are able.