CYNTHIANA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Life forever changed on March 6, 2020. That's the day we knew COVID-19 was here in Kentucky.
After months of social distancing and adjustments, some thought we were on our way out. But that was before the delta variant hit.
No other community in Kentucky has faced the pandemic longer than Cynthiana.
Despite the 18 long months, the town is determined for Main Street, and beyond, to survive.
"Our downtown is the heartbeat of our community," said Tomi Clifford, the executive director of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Chamber of Commerce.
Clifford says that heartbeat is hurting a little bit.
"I went around and personally went in to ask everybody (business owners) how they're doing, and morale was down," said Clifford.
Every business is feeling the effects of the pandemic cycle; from sickness, to staff shortage, or supply chain disruption.
"We opened up three weeks ago, and we're only open two days a week right now," said Tom Dailey, owner of The Dailey Grind.
Dailey says he's trying other sweet recipes until he can make more donuts. The obstacles faced while opening in a pandemic are plentiful, but he has no regrets.
"No, no, no. Just regrets about not being able to have enough to give to people," said Dailey.
The Main Cup opened before the pandemic, and it's been a time period of adjustments.
"If it wasn't for seeing the same people every couple of days asking 'how you doing?' You know, getting to know them well. We may not be able to do that as easily with COVID," said Sydney Cox, manager of The Main Cup.
It hasn't been easy on anybody, and COVID-19 continues to dominate the news.
"Right now, it's pretty rough. I think we have the highest hospitalization rate we've had during the whole pandemic. But we're hanging together," said James Smith, mayor of Cynthiana.
This week, Cynthiana is standing together.
"Every little purchase, or touch, that you make with our local businesses helps," said Clifford.
There's a different theme every day for Cynthiana Stands Together Week. Tuesday's is Pay it Forward.
The Main Cup is taking the concept to a whole new level with a new pay it forward board.
"We'll give you a post-it note or a sleeve and you can leave that for the next person to redeem," said Cox.
"And hopefully that just makes somebody's day, and they leave with a better attitude. And hopefully, we can help encourage the morale to be more positive here in the community," said Clifford.
Even more smiles may be on the way. Dailey says later this week, they'll hopefully have donuts back in stock.
"Hopefully we'll be able to keep the donuts flowing to keep all the sweet tooths together," said Dailey.
Cynthiana Stands Together Week ends on Friday, but everyone hopes the feeling extends through the pandemic and beyond.