Lincoln County businesses and community organizations are adapting or closing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but even those closing are banding together to provide services to those in need.
According to guidelines from the White House and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the elderly and people with serious medical conditions that impair lung or heart function or weaken the immune system should “stay home and away from other people.”
To slow the spread of the coronavirus and avoid overwhelming hospitals, the guidelines advise against gatherings of more than 10 people, eating or drinking at bars or restaurants, visiting long-term care or retirement facilities, and discretionary travel. The guidelines say the public should use delivery or pickup options for food or other essentials and should work or study from home if possible.
Local businesses appear to be taking the recommendations seriously, as many have shut down or shifted focus to curbside pickup or delivery. Many have also announced implementation of U.S. CDC guidelines such as enhanced cleaning, sanitization, and social distancing.
The guidelines recommend keeping a distance of 6 feet between individuals to avoid spread of the coronavirus.
After the announcement of the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Lincoln County, S. Fernald’s Country Store in Damariscotta closed Sunday, March 15.
On Monday, March 16, Fernald’s posted on its Facebook page that it had donated deli provisions and perishables to Jane Oliver-Gravel at Main Street Grocery in Damariscotta.
The next day, Fernald’s and Main Street Grocery launched an online fundraiser to provide groceries and meals to those who cannot leave their homes. At press time, $3,195 had been raised.
“These meals are anything from a couple of sandwiches and soup to beef stew and macaroni and cheese. They have 18 volunteer drivers on hand to help distribute,” Fernald’s said of Main Street Grocery in a Facebook post Monday.
Starting Friday, March 13, Main Street Grocery began offering delivery Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with no delivery charge.
Oliver-Gravel said Friday that her staff is taking extra precautions to sanitize all high-touch areas like cash registers, credit card terminals, door knobs and handles, and surfaces. Store employees are also asking customers to wipe down shopping carts with sanitizing wipes.
Sheepscot General Store and Farm in Whitefield, which offers fresh food and baked goods, announced on its Facebook page Monday that it would continue to offer “everything minus the extended stays,” encouraging customers to order ahead of time and opt for pickup.
The post advised customers to use the hand sanitizer in the entryway and to “look with your eyes, not with your hands.”
“Above all, we strive for kindness, but let’s keep our interactions swift and to the point. Out of consideration for the greater good, we must demonstrate an etiquette of care and compassion in our shared spaces,” the post says.
The Newcastle Publick House closed at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 15, the pub and restaurant announced on its Facebook page.
“It is with heavy hearts that we make this decision but it is for the greater good of our wonderful staff and customers,” the post says.
The Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta and the Harbor Theater in Boothbay Harbor have suspended all shows until further notice.
Skidompha Library in Damariscotta, the Bristol Area Library, and the Waldoboro Public Library have closed.
Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro announced its closure on Facebook effective at 8 a.m., Tuesday, March 17. The diner currently plans to reopen Wednesday, April 1 at 5 a.m.
“This is not a joke. My encouragement to you all is to not fear but be wise. No one can predict tomorrow, but today we must be cautious,” Dan Beck, president and general manger of Moody’s Diner wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday.
Mammy’s Bakery in Wiscasset closed March 17 and donated meals to people in need, it said on Facebook. The bakery said that if anyone needs a meal, they may call 504-4104 and there will be no delivery charge.
Damariscotta Hardware said in an email that the store would take precautions and encourages calling ahead for curbside pickup of smaller items. The store reduced its hours of operation to 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to allow extra time for cleaning and sanitization.
Damariscotta Hardware also asked customers not to bring reusable bags into the store.
Major cities across the state, including Portland, Bangor, and Augusta, have established curfews for bars, restaurants, and other public spaces, and closed government offices, the Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday, March 17.
For more information on business closures, see the list in this edition. To report a closure, email firstname.lastname@example.org.