Going to war with the coronavirus can be a battle of contradictions.
We’re told that staying at home is the best way to avoid coming in contact with the virus and spreading the monster, yet we’re given the OK — even encouraged — to go outside and walk. Exercise, after all, is a good thing when you’re trying to stay healthy, and by doing it outside, you’re not bunched together.
We’re also living in a time when only “essential” businesses are allowed to stay open. This means we cannot get a haircut, eat in a restaurant, work out at the local gym or go bowling.
Yet it is OK to go golfing.
“As you would expect, defining what’s an ‘essential’ business isn’t always clear,” acknowledged state Sen. Matt Huffman, of Lima.
He and other lawmakers found themselves being pressed on the golf issue last week when the first warm day of spring arrived Thursday. Throughout Ohio, from the Green Crest Golf Club near Cincinnati to the Royal Crest Golf Course near Cleveland, people were lining up to get tee times.
Initially, the governor’s office reacted with the disgust of someone who had just landed a shot in a sand trap. Later, a spokesperson brought clarity to the situation, noting there is an exception in the stay-at-home order for “outdoor recreational areas.”
Huffman doesn’t have a problem with that.
“For a lot of people, especially those who are retired, playing golf is a form of exercise. It’s an outdoor activity, so people typically play in groups of four or less,” Huffman said.
It makes sense, especially when you consider golf courses are also taking precautions.
Carts are being disinfected before and after each use. Some courses are allowing only one person to use a cart or limiting it to two family members. Golfers are being told not to touch the flag stick, and rakes have been removed from bunkers.
Precautions are also being made on where and how they pay to play.
THIS AND THAT —
• The highest number of jobless claims in one month in Ohio occurred in December 1981 when claims reached 205,259. That number could be eclipsed in the remaining two days of this month. For the week ending on March 21, Ohio had 187,780 jobless claims, up from just 7,042 a week earlier.
That said, OhioMeansJobs.com lists 420 job openings within 20 miles of Lima that pay between $30,000 to $49,000, and 493 entry level jobs paying $30,000 or less.
• Ohio has set a new, almost exclusively mail-in primary election for April 28 due to the coronavirus. Under the new scenario, the standard in-person primary is off and registered voters who haven’t yet cast a ballot will need to apply for an absentee ballot to vote. They can do that by printing an application form that’s available online or calling their county elections board to request one. Requests must be received at the board by noon on April 25, except in cases of unforeseen hospitalizations.
Once a ballot is received and completed, it must be postmarked by April 27, or it can be directly delivered to the voter’s county election board on Election Day. Only those voters with disabilities or those without home mailing addresses will be allowed to vote in person April 28.
Some people already are saying elections with exclusive mail-in votes may be the way to go in the future, but Huffman’s not sold on the idea. “Too much can go wrong,” he said.
• Some counties in Ohio quickly reversed their decisions to leave county recorder offices unmanned during the pandemic. Closing the offices causes a domino effect: titles cannot get approved, which means banks cannot make loans, which keeps people from making purchases.
• The West Central Association of Realtors, which serves Allen, Hardin and Van Wert counties, reports the average sale of a home in February was $134,385, which was nearly 14% higher than the $118,044 average a year ago.
ROSES AND THORNS: A special rose for a special tribute.
Rose: The Van Wert post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was bathed in blue last week to pay tribute to Springdale Police Department Officer Kaia Grant, 33, who killed by a driver fleeing pursuing officers ran her over as she was putting down stop sticks in the road. While hundreds of police officers typically turn out for funerals of a fallen officer or firefighter, adhering to pandemic restrictions limiting crowds keep them from attending.
Rose: To Paula Quatman, of Lima. She has been busy making washable reusable masks for family and healthcare friends.
Thorn: An elderly woman called The Lima News last week wondering what time “the truck” would be in her neighborhood “spraying for the virus.” When she was told there was no such thing, she said she was glad she didn’t sign up.
PARTING SHOT: “In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” — Tom Bodett
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.