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Greensboro grapples with coronavirus closing down schools; Harris Teeter caps purchases

One child care facility has created "Camp COVID-19," which includes expanded hours and reduced price rates.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — With the spread of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, families in Greensboro spent the weekend stocking up on supplies and making plans now that all North Carolina's public schools are closed for at least two weeks. But they were met at some stores with shortages and limits on how many items could be purchased.

The Costco Wholesale on West Wendover Avenue was bustling on Sunday. After navigating a packed parking lot, shoppers were met with gloved greeters wiping down carts with disinfectant wipes. Signs on the front doors alerted shoppers to sold-out items, including paper towels, toilet paper, rubbing alcohol, canned chicken, chest freezers, and baby wipes.

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"The biggest thing is the kids are out of school," said Wendy Smith, an attorney and mother. "I needed to stock up on food, find a babysitter, figure out what I was going to do with my personal schedule." 

A working attorney, Smith said additional headaches and backups will come of Guilford County Courthouse postponing all matters, trials, and motions scheduled for March 16th through April 13th.

"For the courts to shut down for four weeks is really unthinkable, you think about the backlog of cases that are going to occur," said Smith.

Other shoppers, like 10th grader Noel Alvarado, felt the rush to stock up and close down schools was an overreaction.

"A lot of us are taking this lightly, not something seriously," said Alvarado when asked how he and his peers were approaching the widespread shutdowns over the coronavirus global pandemic. "There are some people who are like, 'Oh it's bad, but it's a break from school.' I'm not really worried about it. Maybe it's overreaction all over the place." 

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Across town at a Harris Teeter, shoppers were met with a three-item limit on certain items in high demand, including water, toilet tissue, canned meat, pasta, cleaning supplies, and certain medicines.

"Harris Teeter is working tirelessly with its supply partners to source the items you need," a sign on the sliding front doors read. "We thank you in advance for your understanding."

Multiple storefronts had their own signs posted, indicating how they were changing business with the threat of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

A Great Clips in Greensboro had a sign posted that read in part, "please refrain from getting your haircut if you are not feeling well.

'It's just leaving everybody scrambling' 

The hourly walk-in daycare "Stay and Play" on West Friendly Avenue in Greensboro responded to school closures by expanding their maximum hours per child and reducing prices. Owners refer to the changes as "Camp COVID-19."

"We realize in our community it's affecting so many parents that do have to work and they rely on that paycheck. So we wanted to extend our hours for the children that would typically be in school, to kind of help and do we what we could," said co-owner Karen Root.

Root said the daycare is also ramping up its cleaning procedures, wiping down toys, door handles and surfaces more frequently. Children are also required to wash their hands immediately after arrival. Sick children will not be allowed to attend.

"Businesses have contacted us to try to find out if their employees can bring their children here, and how many spots we have available, we have a limited capacity, we have 25 children is our max capacity that we can have at one time," said Root.

Root said she hopes the move will provide hope to the community amid an uncertain future with coronavirus looming.

"This is an extreme case and we figured that it's needed by a lot of people, ourselves included," said Root.

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