By Elena Stidham

Earlier this week, Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order to walk the state back from Stage 5 to more restrictive guidelines – based on the overall performance of each county.
In Montgomery County, that led to a number of changes.
Montgomery County Health Department Administrator Amber Reed stated that the Health Department, along with all three Montgomery County school systems, are monitoring the numbers closely and communicating accordingly.
“They already implemented a rejection in attendance and put in their own restrictions, following the color coding [before it came into effect],” Reed said. “All three of the schools implemented a two-person-per-athlete attendance to limit the amount of people. They’re not doing the concessions, no visiting cheerleaders, masks are required at all the times. It keeps it manageable. It’s a bit more restricted than the guidance the governor provided yesterday. 25 percent allows 600 people. That’s a lot of people to manage – it’s about allowing the students to participate and managing the participants because schools work far too hard during the day to manage after hours.”
While Reed fondly commented on how she believes most people in the community are responsible, “you add alcohol and everything is a mess.”
Bars, restaurants and retail stores aren’t specifically mentioned in the initial executive order guidelines, but more details are anticipated to be released. Based on the outline, however, people should be doing what they always should have been: following instructions.
“Wear a mask. It’s not that hard,” Reed said. “I know we’re getting tired, we’re all tired of it, but it’s not getting better, so we need to step up. I know we have it in us to do it, we just got to do it.”
Reed explained the snowball effect COVID can have if people aren’t being responsible. At a store, for example, if an employee’s spouse catches COVID, the whole family has to quarantine, leaving the store short on staff. If this continues to happen in stores and schools, everything could grind to a halt.
It’s a matter of looking out for others along with oneself, Reed said, adding that as the holiday season approaches people need to limit meeting with families.
“When these things come down the pipe, we have to remain flexible – those things, when applied, are going to create change, and we have to be willing to be flexible when it comes to that change,” Reed said. “Limiting our activities going into Thanksgiving is going to be hard, but if what we want to do is for this to change, we need to do this to make it possible and get through this.”