As I adhere to the governor’s stay-at-home order and only go out to go to the store when absolutely necessary, I would like to complement all the stores that remain open on the safeguards they have put in place in Clay Center to protect the public from the COVID 19 Pandemic. Ray’s Apple Market, Kier’s Thriftway, Tractor Supply, Clay County Medical Center and Family Physicians, have done a superb job in trying to prevent the spread of the disease.

I only wish the citizens of Clay Center were taking it as serious as our local merchants and medical facilities are. I had to go to the grocery store this morning to pick up a few necessities. This has become the norm for me since my wife is one whom has been quarantined by her doctor since this started due to her pre-existing medical issues. I am learning a lot about grocery shopping! I would much rather hang out with my two horses and mule than do that. But protecting my wife’s health is my new mission in life.

I felt like I had something growing out of my forehead by the looks I was getting because I was wearing a face mask. Granted, if I would have worn one before this started someone would probably have called 911 that some desperado was about to rob them. I was the only one in the store except the staff that had a face mask on. About two weeks ago the same thing occurred, then I got some chuckles from some teenagers as to my mask.  If everyone would listen to the president’s task force and use precautions when out in public the citizens of Clay Center/Clay County would be in a lot better position to prevent the spread of the disease.

Maybe it is because my wife and I are in that age group that is more high risk than younger citizens in the County, makes me more aware of what some folks are not doing. The presidential task force and the governor have suggested to wear a face mask in public if at all possible.  In Clay Center I don’t see a lot of that occurring. Will wearing a face mask prevent you from getting the virus? Maybe not, but I and others think that it might deter it at least a little. We the public are doing a pretty good job with social distancing in town for the most part, but there is always one or two that still thinks it’s OK to invade our neighbor’s space!

I heard some comments two of our citizens made that it is OK for them to shake hands with each other because they don’t have the virus! Really? When were you two tested?

I utilize the Fort Riley Irwin Army Hospital for medicine and have made two trips on post since the virus broke out. I am impressed the way the military community is handling this. Everyone I have seen on Fort Riley that is exposed to the public is masked up and adhering to the social distancing requirements. They are even taking your temperature when you go into a facility. Now I know that there are a lot more people on Fort Riley than there are in Clay County, but does that mean that we should not pay attention to the warnings and not take precautions?

There is a lot of talk about normalizing the orders and relaxing the requirements. Are we really ready for that? I fear that the cases will escalate considerably, and experts have said the same thing. Everyone that knows me well also knows that I am not someone that makes a big deal out of nothing. This is a big deal. I also know that Clay Center is well known for their fellowship and socializing both in church and on the street. But if we don’t take the proper precautions we might not be socializing with each other for a long time.

-- Chuck Smith,

Clay Center