Burlington neighbors put up Christmas decorations to spread cheer amid coronavirus outbreak

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BURLINGTON, N.C. — On Friday, many communities in the Piedmont Triad will be enforcing a stay at home order.

That means people will be asked to stay home, unless absolutely necessary, with allowances for essential work, grocery shopping, getting in fresh air and more.

One Burlington family is trying to make these tense times a little bit brighter.

“I leave for work about 6:30 every morning. I just happened to be riding by my neighbors and they have this big sign out. It says ‘Joy’ and it was all lit up,” Amy Dalton said.

That word changed her whole day.

“We’re kinda feeling like it’s warfare right now in this world. It sparked something in me,” Dalton said. “I literally burst into tears on the way to work.”

Dalton is a nurse at Alamance Regional Medical Center.

She’s on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.

“We have the majority of the COVID-19 patients on our floor. We have quite a few right now that are pending testing and it’s taking time to get those numbers back. We don’t know what we’re being exposed to right now,” Dalton said.

When Dalton came home one day this week, she decided to expose others to the same feeling she had that morning.

“That word ‘Joy,'” she said.

She put up her Christmas blow-ups and then her next-door neighbors did the same.

“We socially distanced our Christmas decorations,” laughed Christina Hrinko, Dalton’s neighbor. “It’s kind of nice to see everybody drive by and brake for a second, look at them and smile. It’s a hard time for everyone.”

Both women were inspired by the Treadwell family.

“I’m glad in this time of uncertainty, we can make people laugh more than everything,” John Treadwell said.

He, and his wife Kat, originally just put up the “Joy” sign.

Then, people started daring them to add more decorations to their yard and promised cash for charity.

“If we can raise money in the meantime, I’m all for it,” Treadwell said. “We raised about a thousand dollars for the Open Door Clinic in just two days.”

Open Door Clinic of Alamance County offers free health services to people who need the help.

Treadwell says they’re learning Christmas can come any time of year.

“We just wanted people to take a break from reality,” he said. “It was a good distraction from everything that’s going on in the world right now. I think it made people feel good.”

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