An Incredulous Buffalo Soldiers On

Updated: May 5, 2020

by Kassidy Bowering

A Lowe’s parking lot in a shopping plaza on Niagara Falls Boulevard, nearly full on a Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Kassidy Bowering)

While there have been nearly 60,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19, those in Buffalo seem nearly unfazed. While “non-essential businesses” have been closed down, the streets and parking lots appear to be busier than ever.

Any day without rain or snow comes with countless families and dog owners out walking the streets, and filling the parks. Some parks throughout Buffalo have done their best to limit social outings by removing swings, and using plastic to block off entire playgrounds. However this is not the case for all playgrounds, especially Parkside Community Center in Tonawanda. In this residential area there hasn’t been a day above 55° where a group of young men could not be seen playing a game on the basketball courts.

Some of these outings are because of the lack of open gyms. John Appel, a senior at Buffalo State living in Tonawanda, has taken up running now that he can’t work on strength training at the gym. Running has allowed Appel a time to clear his mind during the confusion that is the coronavirus pandemic, but Appel finds, “it feels harder to get motivated because there’s no structure to go to.”

For others here upstate, this forced time off has led to more time for home improvements. Lowe’s has seen such an increase in in store traffic that they are taking on thirty thousand more workers, and increasing the wage of their workers, alongside many other stores.

During an operations update Lowe’s said, "We are continually working on ways to protect and support our associates and our customers during this time when we are all adjusting how we work and live."

Target, in the same shopping plaza as Lowe’s, filled to the brim with shoppers. (Photo by Kassidy Bowering)

Nicole Smart and Kyle Montreal, a young couple living in Buffalo, have used this time to begin packing their apartment, and preparing for their unfortunately timed move back home to the Syracuse area. With the current stress of less travel, knowing what to pack and when has become an increased issue for this couple, and each trip to Lowe’s for more boxes is another added risk to their health.

Smart described her struggle navigating the COVID-19 panic while packing up her belongings saying, “I just don’t know what to pack anymore, I don’t know what we might end up needing now.”

Over 200 deaths have occurred in Erie County, and while in comparison to other areas of New York that is low, it is still 200 lost lives, all attached to family and friends who will deeply miss them. Buffalo as a whole needs to look at their community, and perhaps question the next time they go into Target if they really need to peruse through the sale clothing section.

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