Pandemic Among the Amish: A Look at the Effects of COVID-19 on Amish Communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the First Four Months


  • Joseph Harasta Kutztown University of Pennsylvania



Amish, COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic


March 2020 will be remembered as one of the most unusual months in living memory. When COVID-19 spread across the country, its reach and impact affected every region and every person in some way. The "new normal" forced much of the world to face a new reality of stay-at-home orders, food shortages, and rising death rates. Initially, the pandemic hit congested urban centers hardest, but the effects of the coronavirus were also felt among the rural Amish communities of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This study offers a preliminary look at how the pandemic affected these communities, focusing on the following themes: sources of news and information; effects of government mandates; and impact of the virus on the day-to-day lives of the Amish during the first four months of the pandemic, from late March 2020 through late July 2020. Findings suggest that the Amish experienced a mix of fear and hope, skepticism and optimism, but also a resolve in their faith, which they felt assured would carry them through the uncertainties of the coming months.