An Introduction to the Series
Over the past two weeks, states across the country have implemented restrictions to deter the spread of COVID-19, beginning with social distancing and expanding to ban gatherings of more than 10 people and closing bars and restaurants. This unprecedented action escalated quickly as both information and fears concerning the virus were disseminated throughout society. However, without firm and clear national leadership on this front, the onus of preventative action was on state and local officials and often citizens themselves, making consensus difficult to achieve and direct measures difficult to enact- even contentious at times.
In the Four Corners area, the prevalence of small rural tourist towns creates a deadly juxtaposition: an economic reliance on tourism vs. the limitations of small-scale rural healthcare operations. To the relief of some and the chagrin of others, Colorado was first to implement business closures, followed quickly by Utah and New Mexico, with Arizona lagging behind and still enacting the most lax measures of the area. Though the ordering of these measures seemed abrupt and striking in the idyllic vacation towns, it left some wondering if they had come too late.
As the people of this area settle into self-quarantine and the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported among them, all one can do is sit with this new reality, wondering how it became so and where it will go from here. In this piece, over the course of a week, citizens of five Four Corners towns will provide firsthand accounts of what life is like on their end right now. Perhaps through the telling of these stories, the small towns connected by this shared dilemma will feel a little less alone.
March 30th, 2020