Like other cities and towns throughout the United States and abroad, the citizens of Lincoln County are dealing with what seems like it may be the new normal. Gov. Roy Cooper announced another executive order on Tuesday to order restaurants and bars closed except for takeout and delivery orders. Most of the restaurants in downtown Lincolnton took this news in stride and made adaptions. City Lunch opened up the window that they use during the apple festival and served customers through it and made deliveries. Court Street Grille blocked off a pull in and out space in front of their restaurant and ran curbside service. Given the size of their restaurant and that they are a “socially robust restaurant who also wants to be socially responsible …” Good Wood Pizza had planned to switch to take-out only on Thursday but had to do it a day earlier to honor the executive order. Usually a place where people can sit and visit and enjoy a cup of coffee, Fausto Coffee had coffee and other drinks to go. Untapped Territory is open for limited bottle shop hours because they have cans and bottles for take away. They also will fill growlers.

“Some of the food trucks want to continue to come set up out front,” co-owner Marie Kenyon said. “Their business can continue because they are take-away sales.  People just won’t be able to eat in our taproom. Cousins Maine Lobster will be here on Friday from 5-8. The ones who are particularly screwed are our musician performers. Their gigs are cancelled and recouping that money will be virtually impossible.”

Many of the stores in downtown Lincolnton and beyond are still open for business and offering curbside or mail delivery. 

Diana Gaines, owner of Splinters and Rags out in Vale shared that they were planning on staying open for as long as they could be, taking all necessary sanitary precautions.

“Our workshop is in the back of the building and thankfully we have work to be done,” she said. “We have orders to make for other stores, inventory to make for the fall and Christmas shows, and we have to get the farmhouse ready for the festival and our new tenants. We may not see a customer for a week or two, but we’ll be in the back, the sewing machine humming, Jason pricing, and Charles doing, well, whatever it is that he does.”

Like many businesses, Gaines said that if someone sees an item on Facebook that they’d like to have, to “make their home as comfortable as possible,” to give them a call and they’ll do drive up service or ship it.

‘From Hurricane Hugo to 9/11, all we heard was ‘continue to live your life,’” she said. “The best thing we can all do collectively, is what we each normally do on a day to day basis. I make bunnies and scarecrows and order really cool things for Charles to display, Jason to sell, and you to enjoy. I’m going to keep doing that.”

“Social distancing” is a term that was not common a week ago, but is now the new normal, as is curbside service, grab and go growlers, virtual lessons and performances, and elusive toilet paper. 

The Soup Kitchen at Christian Ministry in Lincolnton is no longer serving sit down lunch. They have gone to a drive by or drop by to pick up food at their regular location 207 South Popular Street in Lincolnton. Hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

In order to enter into the Lincoln County Courthouse, an individual had to have their temperature taken, use hand sanitizer and then go through the metal detector. All nonemergency court cases have been postponed. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Main Office at 700 John Howell Memorial Drive, Lincolnton is still open to walk-in traffic, but the Adam District Office on West Highway 27 and the Charlie District Office in Denver are closed due to issues pertaining to the coronavirus. The sheriff’s office has also suspended public fingerprinting for persons involving applications and new concealed carry permits for two weeks.   

Lincoln County closed down all branches of the public library system until further notice on Wednesday.  All fines will be suspended while the library is closed. The library is currently working towards curbside service and online story times and programming. Resources are available via www.mylincolnlibrary.org or by calling the library at (704) 735-8044.

In addition, Lincoln County Parks and Recreation closed all athletic fields and the East Lincoln Community Center Gymnasium and facilities until further notice effective immediately. This includes all activities, classes, group meetings, and athletic events. If you have questions concerning recreation events or activities, please call (704) 748-1518.

All local YMCAs are closed as well and gearing up for virtual classes for their members.

In a press release issued by Davin Madden, Lincoln County’s public health director, he said that city and county officials recognized the challenges imposed on the community due to the executive orders and recommendations around COVID-19.

“Collectively as a community, we meet this together,” he said. “The degree of social distancing restriction we face is a difficult challenge for most Americans. It’s important we work together as a community to help reduce the impact this virus will have on our citizens and our businesses.”

In the press release, Madden stressed that we are not in a situation of shortages and that the surge of concern has created a temporary limit in supplies like paper goods and cleaning items, but it’s temporary. He also cautioned against going to or hosting get-togethers or traveling outside the community to places that are hosting events.

“Not only does this behavior work counterproductive to the measure of social distancing, it impacts the whole community and creates objectionable risk to the health and wellness due to increased chance of exposure during travel,” he said in the press release. “In addition, it adds to the economic strain on local businesses as they work to mitigate the changes in consumer use.”

As of Wednesday, 27 total people have been tested for COVID-19, of those there is one presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Lincoln County, 21 others have been tested and are considered persons under investigation (PUI), and five other people have tested negative for COVID-19. A PUI is a person who was tested based on COVID- 19 testing criteria and is self-isolating until test results are received. A presumptive positive case is a person who initially tested positive in a commercial or state lab, but the test must be confirmed by the CDC before the case will be considered a confirmed positive. A negative case is a person that is no longer considered a PUI because they tested negative in a commercial or state lab for COVID-19.

It is perhaps an understatement to say that the lives of most people living in Lincoln County have been thrown into chaos. The closing of schools, restaurants, bars and just about everything else has been, at best, an inconvenience. The positivity that has risen up among the community is extraordinary and far outweighs any negativity.

The decision was made at a Board of Education meeting on Monday to make March 16 – 30 mandatory workdays for all administration, teachers and staff at Lincoln County Schools. Throughout the week, they have been working hard to keep learning going and feeding those students in need. The custodial staff at all school and district sites have been hard at work cleaning and disinfecting facilities over the last few days, according to a press release. Hospital grade disinfectants are being used to sanitize all surfaces and touch points. This industrial cleaning process will continue to take place daily and for the duration of the school closure.

“This mandatory school closure was unexpected, and the situation is ever changing,” Lincoln County Schools superintendent Dr. Lory Morrow said. “In these uncertain times, I appreciate all of our teachers, administrators and support staff as they continue to do whatever it takes to serve kids.  This is one of the many reasons Lincoln County is the best school system as we are committed to all students and their families.”

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