For centuries, the Amish community in central Ohio has been isolated from the turmoil of the outside world. Homes still lack phones or computers. The trip is made by horse and buggy. Home-sewn clothing remains the norm. And even now, as the virus rages on in the country as a whole, there is resistance from those supported by community life to the demands of social distancing that have stopped the economy – in Amish country as everywhere else.
But as the virus gets closer, the Amish community joins the fight.
On April 1, John Miller, a manufacturer in Sugarcreek, Ohio, with deep ties to the Amish community in central Ohio, received a call from the Cleveland Clinic. The hospital system was struggling to find protective masks for its 55,000 employees, as well as visitors. Could his team sew 12,000 masks in two days?
Mr. Miller called on Abe Troyer, a leader of the Amish community. A day later, Mr. Troyer signed 60 Amish clothing manufacturers who worked from home, and the order from the Cleveland Clinic was soon underway.
The Amish are not immune to the rampage of the virus. On Thursday, Holmes County, home to the country’s largest Amish community, had only three confirmed cases of coronavirus, but the pandemic has slowed hundreds of Amish artisans and artisans, and the Amish are not asking for federal unemployment benefits.