By Meg Dickens
It has now been two weeks since Johnson County, along with other places in Tennessee, partially reopened after Safer at Home and other similar orders expired, but it is far from business as usual.
Governor Bill Lee’s Tennessee Pledge is a reminder to exercise caution, follow social distancing rules, and be aware as people flood the streets. COVID-19 is still a very present concern. Johnson County now has more access to COVID-19 testing, and with that, citizens can be more aware of the existing threat.
“I’m encouraged, excited, and cautiously optimistic of the situation,” said Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor. “Hopefully this thing will pass by quickly. If we continue to practice good social distancing and CDC guidelines, people can get back to work and resume their normal lives.”
Most of Johnson County slowed down during the pandemic. Many businesses that stayed open made changes like closing lobbies and providing curbside service. Despite this, several stores that sell home improvement or gardening items reported inflated sales. It is no big surprise when many locals have been home from work with time to spare. Witnesses say that local barbershop Newman’s has been packed since guidelines were lifted.
In a recent Tomahawk poll, 70 percent of polled readers thought that the pandemic is either not approaching its downward curve or are unsure of its state. Although testing is more widely available, test result speeds vary. According to Health Council Coordinator Jayne Harper and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), the type of lab greatly affects result times. Interested parties can see the updated statistics on the TDH website as they come in. As of May 10, Johnson County has five active cases.
“We’re still worried about the disease on a daily basis,” Harper said during a recent interview. “Public health continues to call everyone tested.”
For now, people in Johnson County are still working to keep life as normal as possible during the pandemic. Technology is a godsend. Public offices such as the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and County Mayor’s Office are using the Internet to conduct meetings, handle court events, and more. For others, the Internet is an ideal way to communicate and stay sane while limiting exposure time.