‘Twas the Plague Before Christmas

COVID-19 forces local businesses and families to develop a new outlook


Carlie Peters

Frosted sugar cookies from MLP Cake Designs.

Carlie Peters, Staff Writer

With COVID-19 looming over the holiday season, families and local businesses are struggling with carrying out their holiday festivities.
MLP Cake Designs is a new local business near the intersection of Mount Vernon and Main Street, and for the holidays they will have different products.
“For Christmas, we usually do a lot of cutout sugar cookies that are decorated,” Melanie Phillips, owner of MLP Cake Designs, said.
In order to adapt to COVID-19, the bakery is adding extra precautions. They individually wrap items in orders, consistently change their gloves and are extra careful about cross contaminating other products.
“Before, say I’m coloring fondant or something, as long as the gloves didn’t have a lot of color on it or the color was really similar, I could just keep going with the same gloves,” Phillips said. “Now, you know, I just go ahead and throw it away and get new gloves, just to make sure everything’s sanitary every time before I start the next project.”
Extra sanitizing precautions make up the daily routine for the business.
MLP Cake Designs is not the only company following stricter health regulations. Senior Lily Burrows started working at Hy-Vee at the bakery at the beginning of this pandemic.
“Just like in fast food, you are extra washing your hands and changing gloves. It felt like every two seconds,”
Burrows said. “You would be making sure nothing touched anything else.”
At the beginning of the pandemic,
Hy-Vee got busier.
“When things were getting shut down at first, fast food was still open, so a lot of people would be coming through,” Burrows said. “Then just overall as it calmed down, a lot of health concerns were still raised.”
Burrows has some concerns for the season.
“I’m a little concerned that with the holidays coming in, and people wanting to get together and celebrate all that’s happened this year, a lot of the restrictions will get kind of ignored,” Burrows said.
COVID-19 has not only affected the business world, but family and social life as well. Junior Isaiah Holgerson has experienced family gathering problems.
“I know some of my family [members] aren’t comfortable with getting together with large groups, so some aren’t coming to Thanksgiving and Christmas and that type of thing,” Holgerson said. “It will just kind of change the dynamic and we’ll figure it out as we go along.”
His older brother is in college and came home a month early for Christmas,due to the pandemic. Other
family members are not coming because they live further away.
“One thing that I’m concerned about
is that it’s going to kind of cast a gloom
on the holiday season,” Holgerson
said. “I know it’s often times of high emotions like happy or sad — whatever situation you find yourself in. It’s typically a very light and fun season, but I’m afraid it’s going to be dampered down with COVID and having to wear masks and that type of stuff. It’s something that we have to do, but I’m afraid it’s going to lose the effect to a certain extent.”
Another concern was the spread of the virus as people travel across the country and the world.
“I think that it’s definitely a concern that it could spread or could undo some of the work that we’ve tried to do by wearing masks and taking extra precautions,” Holgerson said.
However, he is looking forward to his favorite part of the holiday season.
“I would say my favorite part of the holiday season is the relaxation, because we’re off of school, there’s no homework to worry about and there’s all these decorations and festivities and stuff,” Holgerson said. “We get to do a lot of stuff and relax a ton without having to worry about school and work.”