How Covid-19 Has Affected Our Oilfield Town Part 1
As the threat of Covid-19 continues to grow across the world we are bombarded with headlines of the effects it is having on the healthcare industry, local and International policy, as well as the effects it has on the health of those who contract it.
However, we rarely hear of the way it affects those in our local communities. The mothers, fathers, and children who are struggling to grasp the new world they are expected to live in without advanced notice of the drastic changes that they are expected to make are being affected in ways that aren't making headlines.
This blog will highlight some of those challenges that are being faced by our local community.
Restaurants in our community typically find themselves with wait times that exceed well over an hour. These restaurants have loyal customers and customers that happen upon their businesses during their time here for work. Above is a photo from a sign outside of a local restaurant. This restaurant is one that my husband and I made plans to try for the first time to celebrate our upcoming wedding anniversary.
We may not be able to celebrate our wedding anniversary here, but more than that the business has had to temporarily close their doors. For many businesses closing their doors, even for a short time can have long lasting effects.
I reached out to Yellow Brix on their facebook page and in talking to me they wanted me to share, "...everyone stay safe. We'll open back up as soon as they allow seated dining. We really miss our customers." I know when seated dining is allowed again, I will be one of the first in their doors.
Other food establishments have been able to transition to delivery and carryout only. This is a practice that has been determined to be the safest way to continue providing food service to communities while decreasing the chances of spreading the virus unknowingly.
For many restaurants, this means that their staff have suffered cut hours or no hours at all, as less employees are required to complete all the necessary jobs to keep the business running. For local families who rely on this income this is a difficult situation they find themselves in.
Our local grocery stores are often busy from the time they open to the time they close. Those that are open 24 hours a day may see a drop in customers in the middle of the night, but even at 4am there are more people traveling the aisles of the store than you would expect in a grocery store.
The above photo was taken just after 8:30pm when the store closed for the night to restock and prepare for the next day. The few vehicles in the parking lot were those of employees working around the clock in an attempt to keep the store stocked. Despite their efforts finding the necessary supplies to run a household for more than a few days in impossible. In a home with two adults we have found it necessary to travel to the grocery store more than once a week. Families with multiple children are finding it even harder to find enough food and supplies to run their households, leaving many people to travel to multiple stores on grocery days.
Additionally, local oilfield workers often find that the hours our grocery stores are now open no longer give them adequate time to shop due to the long and odd hours they work.
This photo below makes me sick to my stomach. If you aren't from the Permian you may not understand why, so let me explain. Gas prices in our area average .40 to .80 higher than the current $1.90 (or lower) prices that we are currently seeing. While some people may jump for joy it brings tears to my eyes and makes me physically sick with anxiety. Our local economy relies heavily on the oil and gas industry. That industry allows my husband and I to pay our bills, spoil our nephews, and indulge in our dreams like opening my photography business.
The current oil and gas prices mean that a lot of employees will be facing lay-offs and the potential of losing their homes, vehicles, or ability to feed their children. We don't rejoice at this, we pray that the price will rise drastically overnight and our lives can resume with a bit of normalcy.
*Note: The falling oil prices are a complex mixture related not only to Cover-19, but also domestic, and international politics.
The above paragraphs and photos show a small glimpse into the effect that Covid-19 has had on local businesses in our community, and subsequently the way of life. Next week's blog will focus on how it is affecting local families on a deeper level.