Bustling Missouri town at a standstill due to pandemic

By Trent Champagne

The City of St. Charles has not been this quiet since the early 1800s.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left present-day Main Street to begin their expedition as ordered by President Thomas Jefferson. 

Since those days, St. Charles has been a lively town, and has only continued to grow. New settlers came to town, shops opened up, and St. Charles started to look like the typical city. As of 2018, there are currently 70,764 people living in St. Charles, the ninth most populated city in Missouri.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is not a single person walking around on Main Street. 

Along with beloved Main Street, shops are closed everywhere and restaurants have resorted to drive-throughs, carryouts, and in some cases, deliveries.

Jared Baysinger has lived in St. Charles for over eight years, and has never seen the town so vacant. He would always travel downtown and enjoy interacting with others.

“You drive around now and you would think a tornado struck or something. There is no one in the streets, walking around, or anything like that. I hope someday real soon everything can go back to the way it was,” Baysinger said.

Along with schools and gyms being closed, hundreds of other stores and shops are currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alex Van Leuven, a freshman at St. Charles Community College, has been a server at Allin’s Diner in St. Charles for a little over two years. He is currently out of work and can only hope to be back serving customers soon.

“I miss working with my coworkers and the customers. I miss the money too, I got expenses to pay and it stinks not being able to work. I am not sure when I can work again, which is the real scary thing. Hopefully things start opening back up and I am able to work again soon,” Van Leuven said.

The only cars on the road these days are delivery drivers, and citizens driving to either get essential items, or because there is nothing better to do.

Benjamin Norwine, a sophomore at the University of Missouri, is the youngest of four children. He is back home due to the University of Missouri closing campus and moving all classes to an online format.

He is staying at home with his three siblings and his parents. With six people in the house, Norwine will sometimes go for a drive to clear his head.

“You can feel cramped sometimes with everyone in the house. I love being with my family and everything but it just feels like we are living right on top of each other. There is not anyone on the roads anyway, so sometimes I will just drive for 20 minutes with the windows down just to get out of the house for a bit,” Norwine said.

Until an executive decision is made for the City of St. Charles, citizens will continue to stay home, and hope to stay away from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The roads in Saint Charles are as quiet and empty as they have ever been.

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