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Are people of the Ozarks actually staying home? Well, sort of

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The CDC is saying public gatherings of 50 or more people should be postponed or canceled for the next eight weeks due to coronavirus concerns.

While we are all being encouraged to stay home, that message resonated for some but not others locally.

Empty parking lots early Sunday morning is not a usual sight in Springfield.

But a few churches, such as North Point, is switching to using live stream to reach its congregation.

“They could watch a helpful message that will give them some practical help, some eternal hope in the middle of some chaos probably,” Pastor of North Point Church Jeremy Johnson said. “This is an opportunity for those who put their faith in Jesus to have more confidence in a someone than a something, and right now we have something that’s pretty scary. But, we have someone who’s promised to be with us.”

The director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department sent out a tweet urging any events expected to gather over 250 people to be suspended for now, including churches.

As for grocery stores, employees say they’ve seen a lot more customers this past week.

Even locally, the shelves are bare, with people waiting more than 15 minutes in the checkout line.

“I’ve seen photos of big crowds in stores,” said John Furner, CEO of Walmart, in a video to his associates.

The video said Walmart has seen a clear increase in business as well.

“We got a lot of categories that have seen extraordinary growth levels the last few weeks, started in over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, then food and consumables, and now it’s moving into our food businesses,” Furner said.

In Springfield, the executive director of the Discovery Center is trying to raise funds to get their “Science of Germs and Handwashing Program” directly to kids.

Since not every healthcare worker can afford to pay for new childcare arrangements, there is a fundraiser to help them have a place to send their kids.

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