BIG RAPIDS — In light of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay home, stay safe” executive order, area residents have been spending their free time at their local hardware stores, in hopes of tackling a few home projects.

“We needed some zip ties, and I needed some law fertilizer, which I couldn’t get, and some carts,” Stanwood resident Jane Pierce said. “It’s that time of year.”

Pierce visited the local Menards with her friend, Gloria, with a goal to grab a few items to take care of her lawn as the weather warms.

“We don’t like coming to the stores, but sometimes you have to come to the store,” she said.

Pierce said she and her friend were appreciative of the precautions Menards employees were doing during this time, noting employees were wearing masks. Tape also was placed on the floor to show customers where they should be standing when waiting in line to check out.

“We’re taking it seriously,” she said. “We really believe the only way to stop it is social distance and wear our masks and stay home as much as we can.”

Cadillac resident Kathy Hoy was seen at Lowe’s with her husband, purchasing what they consider to be an essential item.

“We are shopping for a toilet,” she said. “The one at home, we found a crack in the bowl — otherwise, we wouldn’t be out.

“We try to stay home as much as possible.”

Hoy said even though her and her husband stay home often, they also try to take their temperatures as much as possible, to ensure they are still healthy.

Area resident Theresa Ventocilla wore two masks Saturday afternoon as she searched the shelves at Lowe’s.

“I had to get some things that only I could get from a hardware store,” she said, noting she’d like to raise the legs on her couch, as well as complete a few other home projects.

Being a paramedic with other healthcare backgrounds, Ventocilla said she spends the majority of her time caring for her husband, a hospice patient, at their home.

Ventocilla notes the importance of taking the coronavirus seriously and said she hopes residents take the precautions just as seriously.

“This thing is highly contagious,” she said. “...Just keep everybody safe. Wearing the mask is huge.”