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Downtown Rochester slows down amid COVID-19 crisis

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- TheCOVID-19 pandemic has altered life in so many ways. Starting Friday, life changes even more drastically, as Minnesota heads towards a "stay at home" order.

In Rochester, the difference from Mar. 1st, to now is daunting. For instance, lunch hour in downtown Rochester, is looking a little different these days.

"You can count the people on sidewalks with one hand," Jenny Steffey said.

Better put, life is looking different these days. Barren baseball fields, shuttered restaurants, empty shopping center and a quiet Peace Plaza.

"The streets are a lot barer," Steffey continued. You don't see people walking on the sidewalks, its kind of a ghost town."

A ghost town on Thursday, but a few months ago, it was a very different story. In February, Social Ice carried on with winter fund and record breaking attendance.

"All that stuff, we don't know if its going to come back or how long its going to go on. We made it through the ice social [Social Ice] pretty good," Steffey said. "We're just going to wait and see. Gotta stay home like they ask us to."

Reflecting on it all, can be daunting.

"At times, its kind of -- when you watch T.V. or read the paper, it gets overwhelming," Jim Klingsporn said. "Just get away from it, get outside or do something else."

Mayo Clinic Philologist Dr. Craig Sawchuck recommends doing just that when feeling anxious or stressed about our current world situation.

"Refilling the tank and building the buffers, we can do that through things like exercise, relaxation, mindfulness, mediation," Dr. Sawchuck said.

Refilling the tank is just one of three ways Dr. Sawchuck recommends to help manage stress and anxiety. He also suggests trying to keep a consistent schedule -- allowing us to control what we can in a world where much is out of our control.

"We kind of lose sight of how therapeutic normalcy can be," Dr. Sawchuck said.

Dr. Sawchuck says its okay to unplug every once and a while. While he agrees it is important to stay informed, it doesn't have to be 24/7. One way he recommends doing that is limiting social media to one or two half hour increments a day.

Overall, during these uncertain times, Dr. Sawchuck says its important to check in with yourself.

"Pay attention to your mind," Dr. Sawchuck said. "You gotta pay attention to where your mind is at."

Soon, stands will fill again, crowds will gather and you'll be able to hug your neighbors once again.

"Go on and get some fresh air. The sun is warming up, spring is coming," Klingsporn said. "Hopefully it will simmer down."

While no one can say exactly when that day will come, there's promise.

"Hold on to the hope," Steffey said. "Its not the end of the world."


Beret Leone

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