Coronavirus a year later: Michelle Collins, ‘Impressed with Miamisburg response’

A year ago today marked the moment that COVID-19 went from a emerging threat on a somewhat distant horizon to a grim reality that would kill more than 500,000 Americans in its first year and alter the lives of millions.

The Dayton Daily News checked in with 12 area business and community leaders and let them tell us what they learned about their lives, businesses and policy making during the pandemic.

Michelle Collins, Miamisburg Mayor

Miamisburg Mayor Michelle Collins said COVID-19 news started to sink in for her as she and her husband visited Washington, D.C. the first weekend of the pandemic because he works there.

“When we were in D.C., people were wearing masks and being proactive,” she said. “We had tried to go to a couple of breweries and other establishments and they were closed.

“Driving back is when we heard Ohio restaurants were closing.”

Collins said the emerging pandemic was “such a shock,” especially as grocery store shelves became empty of basic staples such as bread and milk, but she became increasingly impressed at Miamisburg restaurant owners who rethought their game plan to ramp up carry-out ordering. She said she remembers going into Bennett’s Publical Family Sports Grill and seeing tables set up so customers couldn’t progress further into the restaurant past the entry point.

“You had to sit there and order and wait on your order or call it in,” she said.

Collins said she was impressed at how city of Miamisburg officials and local companies quickly and adroitly adjusted. “Services didn’t end but we had to keep staff safe,” she said.

City council also shifted public meetings to Zoom, something Collins said was “extremely different” but necessary.

“COVID is not going to be able to stop a city from functioning every day,” she said. “It may change the way we function every day, but it still happens and it still happens at the same level it just might not be the level that the officials prefer.”

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