If the reality of social distancing could be captured in one image, this might just be it. On Tuesday, March 17, a photo of a granddaughter sharing her happy engagement news with her grandfather began to circulate on social media—in large part because the loved ones are separated by a wall of glass.
In the photo, a woman identified as Carly Boyd can be seen excitedly showing off her new engagement ring to her grandfather through the window of his bedroom in isolated home care. A second photo shows the pair pressing their hands up against the pane of glass that separates them, a slight frown on Boyd’s face. Her grandfather’s expression can’t be discerned from the second photo.
“She was right there with her hand pointing to it. He was lying up there eating some ice cream,” Gennie Parnell, the administrator for Premier Living & Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, told NBC News by phone. “She put her hand up on the window and he put his hand on the window and we all just fell apart.”
Big life events have been deeply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic that has officially reached all 50 states as of earlier this week. Weddings, bridal showers, proms, sporting events, and graduations have been, and will likely continue to be, impacted by strict regulations put into place by the government.
Elderly citizens, in particular, are at high risk for contracting the highly contagious virus, and as a precaution, nursing homes are no longer allowing visitors into the high-risk facilities. (According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, keeping family and friends away from nursing homes will help to ensure the continued health of the elderly, who have thus far been hardest hit by the coronavirus).
By adhering by the government’s call for social distancing, Boyd and others are ensuring that they’re keeping their loved ones as safe and healthy as possible—even if that means having to find new and creative ways to connect.
Social distancing, or the practice of maintaining greater than usual physical distance between yourself and others is believed to be one way that individuals can help to “flatten the curve” and look out for the most vulnerable individuals in any given population.
Couples who have been looking forward to that most romantic and culminating of life events—their wedding—are thinking about ways to keep their family and friends safe as well, with many couples opting to postpone their weddings to a later date to be mindful of older relatives and guests who might have weakened immune systems. (As of this past weekend, the government has suggested that folks gather with no more than 10 people, so most weddings would likely not fit under these parameters anyway.)
“It’s a moment to be careful and listen to the authorities,” Giovana Duailibe, founder and CEO of Belief Wedding Creators, an international community for wedding planners, tells The Knot. “The situation is real, and we need to be open to changes.”