I’ve heard of panic buyers stocking up on milk, bread, beer and cigarettes.
Toilet paper, though? That’s a new one on me.
Then I read this isn’t the first time people across the nation worried they would have nothing to … well, you know.
According to the Business Insider, it first happened in 1973. At that time, Americans were already facing a gasoline shortage when popular late-night television host Johnny Carson jokingly mentioned during his opening monologue about a toilet paper shortage. It wiped the smiles off people’s faces. Instead of laughing, folks took it seriously and began to hoard toilet paper.
It was crazy back then and crazier today.
There has been no escaping the coronavirus. Not at church, not during breakfast.
For instance, the salt and pepper shakers and syrup that once had a place on the tables at IHOP are now gone. “It was a safety issue with all of those hands touching them,” a waitress explained. Instead, patrons are receiving individual packets. Meanwhile, Lima area church leaders were suggesting we stay home for while on Sundays (but say our prayers, of course, and set aside money for the collection baskets).
All week, the news wires at The Lima News were filled with such stories.
Dick’s Drive-In, an iconic hamburger joint in Seattle, has been telling its customers it prefers they use debit or credit cards when paying for burgers and shakes. The restaurant chain has signs posted that note cash orders will take longer because “our employees have extra sanitation procedures for all orders that involve cash.” It may be an overreaction because there is no consensus among health authorities on whether cash can spread the coronavirus, but who knows anymore?
Judges across the country are taking precautions to keep courts open, using video conferences for hearings and urging sick people to stay home. But with more infections expected, they’re also preparing for the possibility they may not be able to call anyone for jury duty. “It’s a matter of when, not if, this thing snowballs,” Judge Rosie Gonzalez in San Antonio, Texas, told Bloomberg News.
Workers for businesses that accommodate visitors to the iconic Statue of Liberty told The New York Daily News on Saturday the usual flood of tourists has slowed to a trickle — even though the famous statue is one of the few city must-see sites that remains open.
A caller to The Lima News wondered why Ohio’s casinos and racinos were staying open when across the country Disney theme parks and tours of the U.S. Capitol and White House were halted. A day later came the announcement that Ohio’s gambling joints are closed, unless they can keep customers and employees to 100 or less.
Questions are arising about the ability of some South Florida cruise lines to survive even a temporary shutdown. That’s bad news in many ways. The industry generates more than 13,000 jobs just in Broward County, employing people who work directly for the lines and for local companies that supplying the cruise lines with food, beverages and other services.
South Korea is teaching the U.S. a lesson with its “drive through” testing. People remain in their cars as they answer a brief questionnaire, have their temperature taken and get swabbed inside the nose. It takes about 10 minutes, compared to the hour or so walk-in clinics can take. As a result, South Korea has been on average testing 12,000 patients a day — about as many as the U.S. has managed to test over the last two weeks.
And south of the border, Mexico is telling American tourists not to cancel long-planned trips to its beaches because the virus supposedly isn’t as bad there. Given that, however, some Mexican officials say that in order to protect its citizens, maybe Mexico should build a wall to keep Americans out.
ROSES AND THORNS: It’s “name calling” that puts a Lima man in the rose garden.
Rose: To Martin Schwartz. the owner of Crouse Lumber, a hardware store and lumber yard that has been in Lima for 124 years. After buying the business in 2016 and changing its name, he’s reverted it back to the old name of Crouse Lumber, which it had worn since the late 1970s. The new products and services Schwartz launched will remain.
Rose: One month after his retirement on July 1, the Rev. David Ross will be assuming a new role in Lima as director of community engagement for the Lima Central Catholic Educational Foundation. He’ll also assist with all-school liturgies, lead faith formation activities for the staff and provide spiritual guidance to LCC’s students.
Rose: Evan Smittle, of Ada, was among 83 students who finished a 12-hour dance marathon involving Baldwin-Wallace students. It raised more than $19,000 for HIV-AIDS research.
Thorn: A woman suspected of shoplifting at Menards was found hiding underneath a box truck in the parking lot of The Lima News.
Thorn: Days after the print site of The Lima News was moved from Columbus to Indianapolis due to the Gannett company closing the Columbus Dispatch printing operation, a breakdown of the Indianapolis press caused printing to be temporarily moved north of Detroit, delaying some newspaper delivery.
PARTING SHOT: “We’re optimists, but we have to be realists at the same time.” — Tim Willoughby, spokesman of the Lima Noon Optimist service club, on the organization yielding to he coronavirus and canceling what would have been its 72nd annual home show.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.