2020…what did we talk about? You have obviously forgotten because yet again you have presented an obscure, unexpected, and unkind turn of events. Did I ever imagine to be facing a city in near lockdown and essential shutdown due to a virus? No. Did I ever imagine actually feeling guilty going to work instead of staying home? No. Did I ever expect to see events across the country postpone or cancel for anticipation of the worst? No. But then again, I didn’t expect any of what has already played out in this unusual year of 2020.
I didn’t think we would get much more thrown at us already in this first quarter of the year, but we have, and like every other hurtle we are trying to roll with the punches. On our return from New York, Seattle was in the early stages of freaking out. The day we came back was the day that Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies declared that they would be telecommuting for the rest of the month. This was on March 5th…that is the majority of the month. Even Boeing was asking their employees to work from home if they can and that is unheard of. We read post after post in the news and social media about the chaos in grocery stores (particularly Costco…but when are Costco shoppers truly normal anyways), reading about scarcity of toilet paper and hand sanitizer going on the black market. I don’t think we really knew what chaos was ahead of us as we spent the next few days essentially living the norm; going to work physically, attending Guest Chef Night at FareStart, going for a run and to the park, picking up Thai food, etc.
However, day after day has led to rising cases, both here in Seattle and elsewhere in the U.S. It was a joke to think that the largest and most popular city in the United States for international travelers didn’t have a single case as of a week ago (NYC I’m talking about you) so there is certainly worry about the true numbers in the U.S. already. But Seattle is making news for the high number of fatalities, although nearly all of them were linked to residents in one nursing home. Doesn’t matter. Seattle is taking drastic measures, not saying I don’t agree with them, but it is still quite something to see a city essentially shut down, or so it thinks.
All FareStart Guest Chef Nights are closed for the rest of the month. Most of my friends are working from home for the rest of the month. Many private schools and all library programs are cancelled. The governor is banning all events of 250 people. I haven’t seen the grocery aisles empty but there are somewhat less people out grocery shopping. The downtown is about 50% full of normal weekday traffic. Most restaurants are now offering take out where they normally don’t offer it. I’d be surprised if many restaurants make it through this to be perfectly honest. There are going to be several small businesses that will be taking a big hit, not that the big businesses like airlines and hotel chains aren’t, but the small guys won’t be able to persist.
We need to get access to more testing NOW. It’s not right to not be able to find and contain all infected and it is also not right to quarantine those that may not be infected. We are certainly in a state of limbo here. I’ll be very curious if the end of the month is really the end for this epidemic or what measures will be taken if this is to persist.