Responsibility in Viral Times

By Gloria Austin

Well, among the days of the covid-19 pandemic, we find the word of the day to be RESPONSIBILITY.

By definition : the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone; the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something; or the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.

We all fall into being responsible at this time. Our responsibility not only lies to ourselves and our families, but to our community. We need to be diligent in safety precautions – washing our hands; using sanitizer when no soap is available; covering our faces as not to spread germs; stay six-feet apart and now, of course, stay home. However, the ever constant responsibility is consideration in  our actions and words.

Community businesses are adjusting to the ever changing demands of business. They can not be slothful in their actions. They need to make sure they adhere to laws set in place. What does that mean for them?

At Walmart, instead of the movie, “Groundhog Day,” it will be “Black Friday” over and over again. Management will see to setting the exterior store just like any big event day. Barricades, lines and associates doing their best to instruct customers to the “rules.”

Walmart by mandate of the Governor may only allow 100 customers through the doors at any given time. There will be associates manning the doorways with counters to monitor the crowd. PLEASE be patient. They are doing the job required of them during this time.

Customers can go online and order for free pickup at the store.

Andy’s IGA and Hannaford both will have spatial limits of 50 customers. Andy’s IGA will use their carts to track number of customers in the store. They also have an online order system for curbside pickup. Just go to Andy’s To Go/Rosie online grocery shopping service. Call after placing order to request it. The store will call when order is completed. They are also open to seniors 6-8 a.m. on Sunday and 6-7 a.m. on Wednesday.

County Yankee will allow 15 customers at a time into their store due to their space limitation.  County Yankee also has curbside service. Place your order by clicking the email button ([email protected]) and send your grocery list, phone number and license plate number, according to their Facebook page. Curbside is available Monday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The  RESPONSIBILITY of customers … patience. Lots of patience. Patience when you feel you have no more to give.

“We feel a bit safer, it’s kind of a false safe here, because we haven’t had any cases, ” Houlton Police Chief Tim DeLuca said in an interview with WHOU. “What we have to remember is that people are coming into the area. We are a service center. The first place they go is into Walmart or a grocery store. Those are the things we have to be cautious of. We are not completely isolated from the outside world. There is a potential of the that [covid-19 virus] finding its way here.”

The covid-19 virus shows no mercy, as no one is immune to it.

“There are no divides,” said DeLuca. “We can all fall victim. We need to continue what we are doing and get better at it.”

With the Governor’s stay-at-home order, the Houlton Police Department will not be stopping each car on the roadway. But, if an officer pulls you over, make sure you are following the executive order. The suggestive order of social distancing has now become a mandate.

“It is important everyone understands, this is about education, awareness and voluntary compliance,” Deluca explained. “We are not a police state.”

Deluca and his team of officers are hoping and trusting our community to do what is best for the welfare of all. The executive order is in place not just for individual welfare, but for everyone’s safety. If a violation occurs of the executive order, police will take enforcement measures and a person may be charged with a criminal violation.

“As we all know, behavioral change takes time,” DeLuca said. “I see people really starting to get the hang of what we need to do to maintain social distancing and sanitation … it is a learned behavior and we are getting it.”

The Houlton Police Department officers are taking precautions, as are fire, ambulance and EMS services.

Several essential businesses are offering curbside delivery or online service, as to avoid unnecessary public contact. For those who do visit a store, remember this is not social time. This is community protecting its members.


You can listen to the full interview with Chief DeLuca and Chris Putnam at or on Facebook.


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