Avon residents shopping, eating at restaurants, refusing to ‘live in fear’ amid coronavirus concerns

Avon, Indiana, shoppers and diners: ‘You can’t live in a bubble’

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — Some residents continued shopping, socializing in public and dining at local restaurants the day after Avon Community School Corporation officials announced a two-week, districtwide closure in response to coronavirus concerns.

A student enrolled at Hickory Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19, Hendricks County health officials revealed Sunday night.

“[People in town] are panicking, especially since Avon shut the schools down,” said Tiffany Busby, a resident whose 5-year-old daughter goes to preschool in Brownsburg. “I think it’s fear of the unknown.”

She and her family marched on with their daily routines, albeit with additional hand sanitizer, she said.

“You can’t live in a bubble,” Busby told News 8. “But we are avoiding certain areas like [the Indianapolis] Children’s Museum and big crowds.”

She and her daughter picked up groceries Tuesday night at an ALDI supermarket on U.S. 36. 

At least two-thirds of the shopping center parking lot was empty.

Coronavirus fears could dampen economic activity at any venue that “requires us to meet in big crowds,” according to Michael Hicks, a distinguished professor of economics and the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.

“People are buying necessities and preparing for a period of quasi-quarantine at home,” he said. “That’s going to have real damage to restaurants and normal retail operations.”

It could also be “kind of hard to go on a date if you’re wearing face masks at a restaurant,” Hicks noted.

News 8 crews did not observe anybody wearing face masks Monday or Tuesday in Avon.

Clinton Dodge, an Indianapolis resident visiting friends in Avon, said he was en route to a local restaurant Tuesday night after shopping at a Dollar Tree near ALDI.

“Of course there’s a concern. But there’s always a concern during flu season, too,” he told News 8. “People still shake hands and then kind of chuckle, ‘Oh, we’re not supposed to do that anymore, are we?'”

Dodge and Busby said they were taking precautions recommended by public health officials, including washing their hands frequently, but felt no need to live in fear.

“I’m a bit OCD with germs, anyway,” Busby said. “So just stepping it up a little bit more.”