If you’re reading this far enough in the future, a bit of context may be needed.
As SARS-CoV-2 entered the United States a few weeks ago, we collectively looked at the ongoing experiences of China and Italy and jokingly compared it to Captain Trips. Meghan and I studied the history of the Spanish Flu looking for parallels and worst-case scenarios.
The lessons learned from 1918 are being applied by health officials right now, in an effort to avoid a healthcare-system-crushing pandemic. We can’t avoid contracting the virus, that is clear, but perhaps we can prevent everyone from catching it all at once.
In the middle of last week schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts started closing as a preemptive measure. Many businesses did as well, including my own. A few did not until they were ordered to. This all mirrors the experiences (and failures) in other countries that were hit by the virus first.
As I write this, the governor has ordered all schools closed for at least three weeks. Large gatherings are prohibited, originally capped at 250 people and now capped at 25.
“These gatherings include all community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions and any similar event or activity that brings together 25 or more people in single room or a single space at the same time.”
— Governor Charlie Baker, March 15 2020
The ban also prohibits eating at restaurants (take-out and delivery are still allowed). By extension that essentially closes most bars, since you can’t take drinks to go. Bars garnered a lot of bad press over the weekend as people noted lines “out the door” at many downtown Boston establishments.
So basically we could go out if we really wanted to, but there’s no where to go right now.
Grocery stores are still allowed to be open, so people can buy things eat, but the doomsday preppers have effectively cleaned the shelves. Stores have struggled to keep essentials in stock, including (oddly) paper products like toilet paper, kleenex, and paper towels, as well as the true essentials that never spoil, like bread, milk, and eggs. Meghan witnessed someone buying five gallons of milk on Saturday. It’s like snow is coming.
Some businesses are instituting, or are relying on, work-from-home policies; unfortunately others, especially service-oriented jobs, are sending people home without pay.
I’m fortunate that I can work from home. We’ve cleaned out the office so I can get real work done, and made a spot for Butter to curl up. Meghan’s situation is a little murky, but so far as we can tell she will continue to be paid for the duration.
The kids are starting to get remote assignments from school. I expect the pace will pick up now that a longer, mandatory stay-at-home order is in place. Some schools in harder-hit areas have stayed open because they support homeless and needy children, providing much-needed meals and warm places to wash up.
Baba has been asking for advice on what social events to attend. (answer: zero.) My own parents have continued to live like nothing has changed, though they’re a bit less social than Baba. All three grand-parental-units are in multiple high-risk groups. Connecticut has been less affected by the outbreak so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll come through without contracting it.