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A Pandemic in Paradise

Gov. Ron Desantis announced a stay-at-home order — with exceptions — for the entire state of Florida on Wednesday. While Palm Beach Island has endured the effects of the coronavirus for weeks, Desantis’ new order will impact the island further. Palm Beach Island business owners and residents are doing their best to come to terms with the order.

“Well, this is the biggest time of year and we have no business; we’re closed,” Kathie Orrico, the owner of C Orrico said. “It is a devastating effect, but I know we’ll get through it because the people of Palm Beach are great and support all the small businesses in town.”

Not only are small businesses being impacted, but Palm Beach Islanders are also experiencing difficulties.

A Pandemic in Paradise

“The virus is really killing me,” Lucy Barnes, an art dealer and Palm Beach Island resident said. “A lot of the events that I was hosting throughout the season got cancelled. Financially, it took a huge toll on me. It’s taken a huge toll on all the businesses here on the island. ”

Due to the coronavirus’ growing impact, islanders are supporting each other in any way they can. However, many individuals feel a mix of emotion in regards to Desantis’ new order. 

“Everyone is freaking out over this,” Barnes said. “A lot of my neighbors are elderly, so the younger ones in the building do the grocery shopping for them. I understand the importance of this order, but I don’t understand the need for [this new order] if everything is already closed.”

While Barnes is less sure of the order, Orrico supports the stricter guidelines and regulations the order brings. 

“I feel that we’re in this together,” Orrico said. “We have to flatten the curve and I think this [stay-at-home order is] the way to do it. The sooner we [stay at home], the faster we’ll be back with our lives. Our priority is to all stay healthy. If we have our health, we can face all our adjustments of life changes after.”

Palm Beach Islanders trust that they will face the effects of the coronavirus as a tight-knit community. 

“I really believe we will come out of this stronger and bigger and customers will be seeking small shops,” Orrico said. “We’re social beings and we believe in protecting our communities and the way to do that is to protect small business because that’s the charm that builds America.”

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The Author

Alexis Pinchuk

Alexis Pinchuk

Alexis is studying journalism, pre-law, and pre-med at Boston University. She is interested in politics, medicine, and national and local events. Pinchuk hopes to combine her passions to make a difference in the community.

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