‘All Around Us Is Chaos.’ Inside a Rural Town Upended by the Virus.

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Cynthiana has defied the destiny that has befallen quite a few rural communities across The usa. Downtown storefronts are energetic here, as more youthful inhabitants have moved in and opened tiny organizations. The industries that have underpinned the financial system, like the 3M plant making Publish-it Notes and Scotch tape, are nutritious and steadily developing.

But the coronavirus struck at a minute when the turnaround even now feels fragile.

“We’re nonetheless in our infancy,” Karey Riddell stated of the revival and her very own 12 months-outdated company, the Burley Industry and Cafe, named for the sort of tobacco that once blanketed the farmland surrounding Cynthiana.

Roadways, some hardly extensive sufficient for a pickup truck, twist by hills and all-around soggy fields toward Cynthiana, like blood vessels tracing back again to a coronary heart. The city has a square with a brick courthouse and rows of century-previous structures. Its streets are lined with church buildings and relatives households, some stately and nicely appointed, many others with chipped paint and mucky yards.

Ms. Riddell, 39, termed herself a “boomerang,” a person who had still left Cynthiana and returned to come across it more pleasing than she experienced remembered. Nonetheless, opening a business enterprise was stressful sufficient, and not being aware of what was on the other aspect of the outbreak — or when it would be more than — has compounded her anxieties.

After the to start with couple of times, the initial panic subsided, and persons commenced to stream out of their houses. But the outbreak was nowhere in close proximity to over. Wellbeing officials expected additional cases, point out officers purchased that eating places and bars not provide in-particular person customers, and some residents observed probable for worry to swell again up.

As he sat at the Burley Market and Cafe one particular afternoon past week, Mr. Smith, also a minister at the Cornerstone Christian Church, talked about his have company, an previous theater downtown that he had acquired and fixed up with his friends. He had not canceled a exhibiting of “Onward,” the new Pixar movie, and he puzzled whether or not people today would show up.

Rohs Opera Household, the downtown theater that initially opened in 1871, experienced fallen into disrepair by the time Mr. Smith and the other house owners took it around. They extra new seats, and Robert Kirkman, a Cynthiana indigenous and the creator of “The Going for walks Dead,” aided switch the projector. As the 7 p.m. exhibit approached on Friday, Mr. Smith held the doorway open up for family members that trickled in with buckets of popcorn. There was a great deal of area for social distancing. A trio of children unfold out in a heart row they claimed for themselves.

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