The novel coronavirus pandemic has had a monumental global impact, and private businesses in Harford County are doing everything they can to prepare and respond to changing government guidelines. From grocery stores in the area having to constantly restock and hire more staffers, to restaurants having to lay off employees and prepare for take-out only, these circumstances have affected everyone in different ways. Although it is very difficult to find a silver lining during this time of crisis, one thing is clear: support from the Harford County community has been astounding.

Billy Grose, an owner of the Fallston Barrel House, is currently making plans to reopen his restaurant as carry-out and delivery only. He’s been working on menu changes and will shortly launch online ordering. He’s also planning on making Fallston Barrel House apparel available, and donating those sales back to employees. Buying food, alcohol, gift certificates, and apparel from them online is the best way to show your support. “The community has reached out and shown their support online,” he said. “The positive response and phone calls are overwhelming.”

Jim Streett, owner of Harvest Fare Supermarket in Fallston, has had to make significant staffing and resupplying changes. According to Streett, customers have been nothing but appreciative and thankful for the employees’ hard work and commitment to aggressive cleaning and sanitizing. He has prioritized keeping his customers and employees happy and safe, offering sanitizing wipes at the door to wipe down your cart and recommending that employees wear gloves while ringing people up.

Games Club, a new gaming café in Abingdon, is facing a different set of hardships. In order to keep in accordance with the CDC recommendation of no gatherings of 10 people or more, they have had to shut down until further notice. “We are more than willing to comply with that to keep people safe,” Mark Ionescu, the owner of Games Club, said. Games Club had its grand opening this past December and has already started to gain a following of regulars and people enjoying the space. It may be hard to find ways to support a business that is closed for the time being, but writing positive reviews online and sharing social media posts is immensely helpful and will help spread the word about this new, blossoming business when they reopen their doors. “There is a community of game players who are eager to come back for games and reconnect,” Mark said, “and they are expressing their optimism for how all this will turn out.”

For the past several days, we have been flooded with devastating news, and it’s easy to feel hopeless in a time like this. However, it’s important to look for kindness and encouragement in the people around us. The Community Foundation of Harford County recently announced two new funds to help those affected by the virus, Harford County Public Schools have been approved to provide free meals to children, ages 2-18, during the emergency school closures, Harford County Public Library has been promoting their Children’s Digital Library for kids to use as a resource, and more. Our community has come together in so many ways, and we will get through this together if we continue to pay it forward and show love and support to one another.