I don’t know what I was thinking.

OK, that’s not entirely true. Another newspaper had their reporters walk through their neighborhoods and write about it. I thought I would do that but with a twist: I’d walk through the Garden Valley Shopping Center and write about the scene there.

Again, what was I thinking?

It was eerie. As you can imagine, most of the stores were closed and the parking lot nearly empty. Everyone looked grim. I ran into a hair stylist at a salon there who said she had just popped in to grab some items. She was nearly in tears as she talked about how she hadn’t worked in a month.

I told her I hadn’t had a haircut in a month. “I wish I could help you,” she said, trying to manage a smile.

“So do I,” I said.

What really stood out were the signs. Short and simple, some handwritten, all heartfelt in their own way. I fear this will be the lasting legacy of this pandemic, all the Closed for Business signs.

Here is a sampling:

JC Penney: Our store is temporarily closed. Don’t forget you can find more information and great deals online at jcp.com.

Nail Trends: We are temporarily closed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you for your support!

Sally Beauty Supply: Store Temporarily Closed. Re-evaluating April 9.

Shanti’s Indian Cuisine: Until Further Notice: All Orders Will Be To-go Only.

Farmers Insurance: LOBBY CLOSED. PAYMENT CAN BE TAKEN THROUGH DOOR WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS INSIDE.

Claire’s: In the interest of the safety of our associates and customers, our stores will be closed from Wednesday March 18 through Friday March 27.

U.S. Cellular: This store is open for essential needs only and has a 10-person limit. Please wait to be checked in. Thank you.

U.S. Army: In an effort to support the recommendations of social distancing, the Army office will be closed until further notice. However, if you would like to receive information on the Army or have any questions please contact one of the recruiters below.

GameStop: Call for service. We’ll meet at the door.

Valley Opticians: Because we care about our patients, we are being abundantly cautious. This includes sanitizing common areas frequently throughout the day and sanitizing frames as we go. Please place frames in a sanitizing bin after you try them on. Thank you!

Monarch Medical Weight Loss Center: Monarch will be taking the temperature of everyone who enters. Currently we offer telemedicine appointments for established patients that need to reschedule. Thank You.

One Main: For the health of customers and team members we are currently welcoming visitors by appointment only.

Lincoln Financial Group: Our physical office location is temporarily closed per state orders. We are conducting all business remotely for the foreseeable future.

Beauty Boutique Salon: Due to the current situation with COVID-19 we are being forced to close our doors and put a pause on all services until further notice. We are so sorry for the inconvenience and look forward to opening up our door and serving you as soon as we are able! Please follow us on Facebook and we will keep you posted. Stay healthy and safe!

Western Oregon Jewelers: Our schedule during the month of April is: Tuesday, 11-2 PM, Thursday 11-2PM. If you are unable to get in during those times please call 541-957-1424 and leave us a message. We will call you and make arrangements to meet at a time that is better for you. Thank you! Western Oregon Jewelers. We appreciate your continued support during this time!

Pier 1: THIS LOCATION HAS CLOSED. VISIT PIER1.COM TO FIND A STORE NEAR YOU.

Ross Dress for Less: Temporarily closed. We are working to reopen as soon as possible. Please accept our apology for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The one business that had a steady stream of customers was Garden Valley Liquor. But even they had a sign, that said in part: If you are sick, please do not come in. Send someone else, over the age of 21, in to make a purchase for you.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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