The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, is home to over 50,000 residents, most within the demographic deemed most at risk for the coronavirus. Despite this, and despite a COVID-19 case being diagnosed nearby, and despite repeated pleas from public health officials (and probably, family members of their own) to stay away from everyone, these seniors decided that social distancing was for the birds and went on with their daily routines. A photographer for Reuters captured the scene as of March 17, where everyone was touching too many things and standing way too close.
“You know what, we can’t live our entire lives being afraid. My mom works at Walmart; she’s 73. I’m careful, even when delivering pizzas — I use sanitizer every time. So you can just do your best, and that’s it. My son, he’s 17, and we’re just waiting for the restaurant where he works to close. He and his buddies just went to Daytona to celebrate spring break. You can’t live your life in fear — you can just take precautions and what’s going to happen, will happen,” says resident Denise Yearwood.
Some distancing measures seem to have been put in place in the area within the past few days, such as restaurants closures and advice being given for social gatherings to happen while six feet apart.
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John Nieckarz, Cheryl Scherbarth, and George Kell, elbow bump while bowling at The Spanish Springs Lanes.
A crowd gathers at McCall’s Tavern at Spanish Springs Town Square.
Ted and Ginger Bowen dine with Becky and Bear Brace at Amerikano’s Grille in The Villages.
A note warning against stealing toilet paper hangs in the bathroom of Flip Flops II internet cafe.
Denise Yearwood plays a sweepstake game at Flip Flops II internet cafe.
Denise Yearwood collects money after playing a sweepstake game at Flip Flops II internet cafe.
Bear Brace with friends at Amerikano’s Grille in The Villages, Florida.
An 83-year-old cancer patient, who prefers to remain unnamed, dines within a crowd gathering at McCall’s Tavern in The Villages, Florida.
A note announces sanitizing procedures at Flippers Pizzeria in The Villages, Florida.
A waitress sanitizes condiments at Amerikano’s Grille.
Men shake hands at Spanish Springs Town Square.
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