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The last several days have been trying on our country, state and community. We have seen a virus spread throughout the world, hit the shores of America, travel to the Midwest, and make its way to our own county.

Sport seasons have been canceled, religious services have switched to virtual gatherings, and community events have been called off. My own company, along with countless other employers, have sent their employees to work from home until further notice. Our local governments have done a tremendous job of guiding us on how to prepare for quarantines and prevent spreading the virus, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about how to be a good neighbor during this difficult time for our nation.

Consider participating in the “Light the Night” movement. I heard about this movement on social media and have been practicing it in my own home ever since. Citizens around the world are putting a light in their windows to share hope with their neighbors and to signal their willingness to help with any struggles the coronavirus has caused.

The purpose of the light is to let our senior neighbors know that we will run an errand for them if they are too scared to risk exposure, to let our neighbors whose daycares have been canceled, but jobs have not, know that we will help with childcare, and to let our community know that we are in this together. I encourage this great community to light the night and use this opportunity to spread hope and help.

Try to find ways to continue supporting our local businesses. I had the privilege of speaking with a local business owner concerned about how social distancing and self-quarantining will affect her shop. I learned that buying gift cards, continuing to shop local if you’re moving your shopping online, and to tip a little more than we are accustomed to will help our local businesses and their employees as this virus impacts their operations.

Help our first responders, doctors, and medical professionals by keeping them available for those who need them the most. Working in the healthcare field, I have heard countless stories of emergency rooms filled to the brim with people demanding tests who have no symptoms, of masks being stolen from hospitals, and of medical supplies being bought in bulk. Let’s work together to stay safe, healthy and prepared, without panicking. We can all work to make sure our medical professionals and first responders are available for emergencies and critical cases of COVID-19.

To learn more about the virus and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.co.carver.mn.us/covid-19 or utilize the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920.

Living with and serving the people of Chanhassen has given me so much hope that we can and will come together as a community during this pandemic. We are a community of givers, helpers and doers. We are the type of community that comes out the other side of struggles stronger and better than before. We will get through this together.

Julia Coleman

Chanhassen councilor

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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