Warwick residents living and dealing with the Coronavirus epidemic

Warwick. Hearing concerns of local citizens and business owners.

17 Mar 2020 | 07:02

The spread of the Coronavirus epidemic and the rules and regulations to defeat it are changing daily.

But earlier this week, The Warwick Advertiser questioned some local citizens and business owners to hear from local citizens and how they are coping with this crisis.

This is not a vacation

Town of Warwick resident Diana Eschmann urges everyone, who can, to stay home from work but realize this is not a vacation.

“It’s not time to invite people over for a party,” she said, “or for younger family members to hang out with friends and then come home and endanger their parents.”

Eschmann is hopeful that the epidemic will be over in a couple of months but in the meantime her social activities including hiking on the nearby Appalachian Trail with her husband, John, or walking with her dog, Tula.

Eschmann avoids crowds but, when out of necessity she went grocery shopping, gave high marks to Warwick ShopRite for forming a single waiting-line, similar to that employed by banks, to each check-out.

“It moved very quickly,” she said,” because the area behind the check-out counters, where they had two employees, was clear and they were able to direct people with fewer items to the quick or self check-outs.”

Just back from a cruise

Retired Warwick Police Sergeant George Arnott admits he is up in years, has heart disease and diabetes and was described to be the most vulnerable to contract the virus.

Nevertheless, he is active, in good shape and decided to take advantage of the reduced rates to leave for an 11-day cruise on Feb. 24 from New York to the Caribbean .

“On the ship,” he said, “there was talk among the passengers about the virus but none of the crew or passengers were wearing face masks for protection. There was a strong emphasis on washing our hands entering the dining room and anytime we used the bathrooms.

"All of these countries that I visited had no mention of the virus nor any face protection so i wasn't overly concerned," he added. "But I could see the progression of it on the TV and I saw the news about the cruise ship in San Francisco having to stay out in the water and not dock.”

Arnott wasn't worried because the situation hadn’t progressed but he added, “As we arrived off ship on March 6, I took a cab to Port Authority and many people were wearing face masks at the bus terminal. Then when I came back the Center for Disease Control advised older persons who had my medical history, to not go on a cruise.”

It’s too early to tell: Right now it’s like a Rubic Cube

Although it’s changing day by day, a visitor to downtown Warwick last weekend wouldn’t have noticed anything much different from normal shopping activity at this time of year.

“It’s too early to tell,” said Jerry Schlichting, co-owner of the popular Frazzleberries gift shop. ”I think the measures being taken will help us get back. But right now it’s like a Rubic Cube.”

Like the other merchants in the downtown business community, employees at Frazzleberries periodically wipe down counters, credit card holders, door handles and whatever anyone might touch with a sanitizer.

Schlichting and his wife, Katie, who have two daughters at the now temporarily closed St. Stephen-St. Edward Elementary School, have to juggle their work schedules or have the children do their preassigned school work at an office the store. Co-owner Mary Beth Schlichting is also around to help out but, like other business owners, they may have to rearrange work schedules for employees with the same problem.

Business was good but this is still a national emergency

Tim Mullally, co-owner of Style Council and Blue fashion shops in downtown Warwick, reported that business was actually very good last Saturday, March 14.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said,” although I still believe this epidemic is a national emergency.”

Like other business owners, Mullally, a resident of Vernon, New Jersey, has the problem of rearranging his schedule or bringing his son, Tim, 8, whose school is closed, to the shop where he can still continue his studies on a Chrome Book laptop provided by the school district.

“I hope this is over sooner than later,” he said.

In addition to being a business owner, Mullally is also an actor and, as of this writing, his upcoming performance in an April 4-5 dinner/theatre murder mystery at the Blue Arrow Farm in Pine Island had not been canceled.

The right sites for current information are the CDC and the Orange County DOH

Michael Newhard is not only the mayor of the Village of Warwick but he is also the owner of Newhard’s, the Home Source, on Main Street.

“As we expected,” he said, “it’s been slow.”

But, like other shops, employees at his store are periodically wiping down counters, door handles, railings and other likely fixtures customers might touch.

The store also keeps a bottle of hand sanitizer for customers at the check-out.

Like most families, Newhard has to contend with interruptions in family schedules. His son Henry, for example, is at school in Boston and enjoys the special savings of the “mega bus” service to return home on weekends. And now that service has been canceled.

Updates and other information will be posted on the Village of Warwick’s website: www.villageofwarwick.org and its Facebook page.

“And,” said Newhard, “the best sites for accurate information about this epidemic are the CD C (Center for Disease Control) and the OCDOH (Orange County Department of Health.”

'See you on the other side'

Warwick resident Gregg Merksamer is an automotive journalist, historian and photographer whose published books include “A history of the New York International Auto Show.”

And, as the show’s official historian, he reported that the popular week-long event, planned to open on Friday, April 10, has been postponed until late August.

To combat the coronavirus, Merksamer, like most people, avoids shaking hands. But he has a unique and somewhat dark humor way of bidding, “Good bye.”

“I’ve adopted a new ‘Good bye,” he said, “based on a line in the movie, Ghostbusters.”

Merksamer explained the line from the movie that he uses is “See you on the other side” spoken before the characters crossed the “streams” in a risky undertaking.