COVID-19 Disrupts Easter Plans, But Celebrations Continue

Many Vermonters who observe Easter are finding new ways to celebrate

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While the COVID-19 crisis means there will be no large Easter egg hunts, in-person church services, or holiday brunches served at bustling restaurants this weekend, many New Englanders are determined to celebrate—even if they do so in different ways than usual.

"I miss all the people with whom I'm friends," said Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.

Coyne, who calls the times we are in "the new abnormal," has closed churches and offers Mass via video with the state under a "stay home, stay safe" order issued by Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont.

The bishop told NECN and NBC10 Boston he's praying for healthy communities and for the worldwide disease crisis to be a time to mend divisions—since the new coronavirus is affecting all countries, all faiths, and people of all political stripes.

"That should remind us of that common humanity," Coyne observed. "That should not separate us, but unite us."

Easter celebrations will feel so very different for many, Coyne said, adding that he hopes an optimistic spirit remains.

At Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh, Sam Cutting said the online food retailing part of his business has been sending out record numbers of Easter hams, maple syrup, and slabs of bacon.

"This is more like Christmas than Easter," Cutting said of his sales volume.

The numbers were boosted, Cutting believes, by the fact people can't go out for brunch the way they do most years.

What those customers are buying is different, too, Cutting notes, as they prepare for a holiday in the era of social distancing with many fewer houseguests.

"They don't need a great big ham," the businessman explained. "They get a smaller ham."

Curbside pickups were keeping Lake Champlain Chocolates busy at its Pine Street location Friday.

"It's a way to sort of have a small moment of happiness amidst all the craziness going on right now," said Meghan Fitzpatrick of Lake Champlain Chocolates.

National shipments are heading out from the Burlington chocolate company--aimed at making Easter baskets feel right when nothing else does.

"I thought the kids deserved something special this year," chocolate customer Cassie Lindsay said. "Just to give them a little treat because it's been a rough few weeks for all of us."

Back at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Bishop Coyne said he's looking forward to seeing the faithful return to church when the COVID-19 crisis finally ends.

"I hope it never happens again," Coyne said of the pandemic.

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