CHESHIRE — In response to the spread of coronavirus, the state has shut many businesses and asked people to stay in their homes as much as possible.
The purpose is to ensure that everyone is practicing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s protocol for avoiding the risk of infection — including social distancing, which means “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
With this in mind, many town residents are continuing their daily routine, including walking pets and taking a stroll outside.
“Unfortunately, my life doesn’t just stop because of the quarantine,” said Devin Cranmer, who was outside recently walking her pitbull named Kawaii. “I still need to go to work and walk my dog. I’m just not going to stop and talk to anyone, or let her pull me into any groups of people.”
Cranmer has been heeding the warnings to stay indoors, although her job is considered “essential” and she has been reporting to work regularly.
“I work in a vet’s office out of town and, if the dogs are sick, someone needs to take care of them,” she said. “I shower immediately when I come home and throw my scrubs in the laundry. What else can I do?”
Recently, the Town of Cheshire announced that it would keep local parks and open space areas open, but encouraged all to remain committed to social distancing and not to congregate in large groups.
During a recent interview with The Cheshire Herald, Chesprocott Health Director Maura Esposito mentioned that getting outside and enjoying nature while adhering to all recommended safety protocols can help those who suddenly find themselves at home more often.
“We have some wonderful areas around town (to hike) so now would be a good time to take advantage,” she said.
For some, having the ability to get outside is paramount during this time.
“When work gets me stressed out, I have been coming out here to just take a walk, clear my head,” noted Komail Hasan, who has been working from home since the beginning of the month. “I try to stay away from anyone, but if someone passes me I’ll give them a little head nod.”
“We’re all trying to stay sane together,” Hasan continued.
Though outdoor spaces remain open, Cranmer hopes that the behavior of some doesn’t force the town to take further action. She’s already witnessed people not practicing the type of social distancing being encouraged by public health officials.
“I was going to go to the dog park the other day and I pulled up and saw like 20 people out there all huddled together,” Cranmer said. “I turned my car around and opted to just walk her on the trail rather than risk it.”
The Town of Cheshire, along with Chesprocott, has advised against gathering in groups of 10 or more, regardless of whether the group is outdoors.