In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Athens Mayor and Commission passed a shelter-in-place ordinance that requires residents to stay in their homes except for essential business on March 19, although it will not be enforced against individuals. Non-essential businesses that continue to operate as normal may be fined or closed.
The Red & Black asked University of Georgia students in Athens how the ordinance has affected them and their daily lives. The interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.
Alexander Watson-Jones is a junior mechanical engineering major.
“I’ve been more or less stuck in my house for a little over a week now. I came back from Texas over spring break to visit my parents. Because I was on flights, I decided to isolate myself to my house, so most activities I can’t do … Most of my time is spent indoors, locked away in my house.”
Kerstin Norby is a sophomore sport management major.
“I’ve taken a lot of extra precautions to make sure that I’m able to limit my time outside. So I’ve planned certain days that I go to the grocery store and because with there being limited businesses open, it’s hard to pick what I need and when I need to go out. So I only try to leave for mandatory things like appointments or picking up prescriptions or groceries.”
Amy Gunby is a senior fine arts major with a concentration in graphic design.
“It feels very surreal. I’m very blessed. I’m still able to work, and we’ve arranged things to where I’m not in danger and I’m not putting other people in danger, so I think that’s amazing. So, for me, personally, I haven’t been affected a whole lot, but I think it’s definitely astounding to see people around me affected by it because so many people are either out of an income or are scrambling to figure out how they’re going to relocate their job.”
Lane Corum is a junior finance and management information systems double major.
“I actually work at a bank, so I’m considered an essential employee. So, I still have to report to work, but, because of the ordinance, my CrossFit gym actually closed. Just staying inside has been kind of tough when I’m used to going to friends.”