The COVID-19 Pandemic: One Year Later Quarantined in California

This is part three of an ongoing series about the COVID-19 Pandemic: One Year Later and how it affected Richardson County residents. 

By Nikki McKim

Over a year after the COVID pandemic started, families learn to cope and live with adjustments and changes they’ve made. 

This installment comes from a former Richardson County resident that now lives on the west coast. 

Molly Chapple Roe spent her quarantine with her husband, Mike, in a more strict area of the country, Northern California. On March 19, 2020, an Executive Order and Public Health Order directed all Californians to stay home except to go to an essential job or to shop for essential needs.

As of March 15, 2021, All individuals living in the State of California are currently ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except for permitted work, local shopping, or other permitted errands, or as otherwise authorized.

“We are required to wear masks anywhere we go indoors, whether it’s the grocery store, the post office, or the pharmacy. We haven’t dined indoors since March 2020 because it hasn’t been allowed by the county,” stated Roe.

Thousands of California residents died, millions more were infected, and the state’s ICUs were overwhelmed. It was all unimaginable, so the state took extreme measures to do what it could to protect its citizens. In California, social distancing is not only encouraged but required.

“I have heard cashiers remind customers to stand six feet apart in line at the grocery store or to pull their masks over their noses. Even at outdoor dining establishments, you are required to wear your mask until you’re seated at your table,” said Roe. 

California’s economy plummeted in March 2020 when the pandemic forced closures of many businesses forcing millions out of work. Many Californians faced evictions as the year ended. Thankfully for Roe and her husband, their jobs weren’t negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

Luckily, neither Roe nor her husband, a drummer in the Air Force Band who received the vaccine in January 2021, were part of the millions of Californians who contracted COVID. Still, they knew plenty of people who weren’t as lucky. 

“We do know of friends and other family members who got COVID, but thankfully they healed well.”

Essential workers in California could operate safely isolated at home, causing loneliness and for some depression. Roe chose to be grateful. 

“I’m very grateful that COVID hasn’t had a terribly negative impact on my life,” said Roe.  “I have always been a “people person” and have thrived off of social interaction. The past year has been a good time for self-reflection. I’ve picked up a few new hobbies such as cross stitching and word search puzzles, and I’ve had a lot of extra time to read.” 

She found gratitude in the small things that many take for granted. 

“I have never been more excited at the idea of eating inside a restaurant, walking through stacks of bookshelves at the library, going bowling, or singing at karaoke,” said Roe. “Even though it’s easy to get a little sad being stuck inside and missing out on some of our favorite hobbies, we try to remain grateful. I think about our healthcare workers, teachers, law enforcement, first responders, and all other essential workers and am thankful for all their hard work this year. They’re true heroes who have made the biggest sacrifices during this pandemic.”

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