Easter preparations in Eastern Carolina amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -As the CDC eases guidelines on gatherings and travels for those who are fully vaccinated, many people in Eastern Carolina are eager to spend Easter weekend with loved ones in person.

The National Retail Federation said a total of 79% of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend an average of $179.70 on Easter gifts and celebrations. On Friday, several customers at the Piggly Wiggly on Dickinson Avenue in Greenville got an early start preparing for a holiday meal with loved ones.

“Our usual mac and cheese, mustard greens, corn on the cob, ribs, chicken,” Greenville resident Carolyn Hooks said. “Family is very important. We’re thankful to be here altogether.”

Tessie Dickens, 67, said she’s cooking for sister, her sister-in-law, and her niece, thankful that more people are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine this year.

“I’m blessed to be alive. Thank God I’m here for Easter one more time.” Partymakers on East Arlington Blvd. sold their costumes and have rented out over 10 for Easter already, manager Jennifer Parker said.

“We’ve done a lot with the community as far as the Easter bunnies, and we’re having good turnouts and things with it,” Parker said. “You can tell the mood of the children is a lot better.”Despite the excitement to gather with loved ones, health officials encourage the public to continue practicing CDC guidelines amid the pandemic as they’re closer to allowing everyone to get vaccinated.

In Lenoir County, health director Pamela Brown said they’re moving up to about a quarter of Lenoir County residents that are at least partially vaccinated. As that number increases, Brown said to stay vigilant. “All of the things that we have been saying for the past months are still really important about the social distancing, masking, especially when you’re around folks that you’re not normally around,” Brown said.

ACCORDING TO THE WEBSITE, the CDC said indoor visits between fully vaccinated people who do not wear masks or physically distance from one another are likely low risk.For Pitt County resident Portia Bright Pittman, whose family has received the vaccine, she’s looking forward to celebrating Easter outside.

“Easter is an important time for all of us,” Pittman said. “We’ve all been in isolation, quarantining by ourselves … stressful situation dealing with mental health issues … this is really going to be a great Easter, I believe. I think people have had enough of sitting indoors, watching Netflix, and chilling … plus it’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend as well.” Brown said one way to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid large gatherings, mainly if there are people there that you’re generally not around.

Brown recommended gatherings outside where you have more ventilation or gather with people you’re usually around or those who are fully vaccinated. Starting next week, all adults will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in North Carolina.

“We are so close to this huge milestone,” Brown said. “And I just want everybody to hang in there a little bit longer to protect themselves and their family and their friends, especially during this season.”

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