Thursday, March 12, 2020

Corona Closures, Cancellations and Confusion

As I'm sure you're all aware, the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) has taken over our news.  Over the past few weeks, it's gotten more and more prevalent.  I haven't really wanted to post much to add to it, but I've had a rough day today.  Since this is my little corner of the internet, and because it's therapeutic to me, here I am.

Over the past few weeks, I've been watching all of the fear, hysteria and confusion from afar.  I did think the media was going a bit overboard in the beginning.  I've been amused by silly memes about stores running out of toilet paper (seriously?), how to properly wash your hands (doesn't everyone know how to do that?!?!) and about how we should be hoarding craft supplies, beer and wine in case we get put on quarantine.

I have to admit that up until the past 24 hours, I wasn't really that alarmed about the Coronavirus.  Eliot and I are both young and fairly healthy.  I work at home and am already "socially distanced" simply by being self-employed.  But the past 24 hours have changed everything.  I went from not really all that concerned to somewhat freaking out and spiraling a bit this afternoon.  So what changed?  

For starters, news of closures and cancellations has come repeatedly: 

- Last night, the NBA put their season put on hold while we were watching our San Jose Sharks hockey game on the national broadcast.  That means, Eliot and I were subjected to listening all about that and how the NHL would likely follow suit.  San Jose was already set to be playing hockey in front of an empty arena, but since the NHL usually follows the NBA, it was a matter of time before they weren't playing period.

- Maine was one of the few states without a confirmed case of COVID-19.  Today, our governor held a press conference where she announced we had our first presumptive case of the virus.  She and our CDC recommended that we not have gatherings of over 250 people.  (Since then, Maine has confirmed at least one if not 2 cases.)

- Shortly before 2 pm, the NHL officially suspended their season.  This was expected.

- Around 5 pm, news of Disneyland closing from March 14th to the end of the month was announced.  Shortly after, Universal Hollywood announced it was closing too.

- I also read news that Walt Disney World has a few firefighters at their Reedy Creek Fire Department who are on quarantine after going to a conference in Tampa where someone else was later found to be positive for COVID-19.  (Note: This should not affect anyone at WDW since the firemen are already quarantined at home.)

- Around 7 pm, I found out that Mulan was being delaying on it's release in theaters.  It was supposed to be out on March 27th, and there's no news of the new release date.

- Right before 8:30 pm, I read that Walt Disney World announced plans to close along with Disneyland Paris.  They have also suspended all Disney Cruise Line itineraries set to depart beginning Saturday the 14th through the end of March.

- There have also been countless other announcements of cancellations.  The MLB is delaying spring training and the start of their season.  The Maine Mariners hockey season has been put on hiatus.  The NCAA March Madness tournament is not happening and many other college playoffs are also cancelled.  Universities are sending students home after spring break and finishing their school year online.  I've also seen articles and posts about numerous conferences, theater shows and other things being cancelled.  Broadway is going dark.  There seems to be no end in sight.

People are legitimately scared.  This morning, before we even got out of bed, I told Eliot that I wanted him to talk to his boss and HR department at work.  He's had a few bad cases of pneumonia and the Coronavirus affects your breathing.  A year ago, he passed out at work, was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

We hadn't been worried, but I'm starting to.  The disease spread like wildfire in Italy.  If reports that the virus can live in the air for a few hours are true, we aren't truly safe going anywhere.  Eliot and I aren't going stay hidden away and stop living our lives, but it's time to be a little more serious about it than we have been.

I've had a lot of emotions today- from fear, to confusion, to anger, to frustration.  It seems like there are more questions than answers.  Will this effect our business?  Will I get a paycheck?  Will I be able to pay our bills?  Can Eliot work from home?  Will Elissa be returning to Maine after spring break in South Carolina?  Will she have to be quarantined at school?  What else will be closing or get cancelled?  

I know that a lot of other people are feeling the fear and uncertainty too.  There are still plenty of people who think this is all ridiculous, and I get it.  I really do.  Up until the past 24 hours or so, I thought the media was blowing this all out of proportion.  (I still think their early reports were a bit fear mongering.)  But, it's been proven that by taking measures of social distancing, we can slow the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Is all of this completely insane and unprecedented?  Oh yeah.  Are people upset that things they were looking forward to have been cancelled or closed?  Yes.  Athletes can't, or might not get to, compete in tournaments or events they've worked their whole lives for.  People are having to cancel their once-in-a-lifetime vacations.  Couples getting married aren't sure if they'll even be able to have their weddings.  Students might not get to walk in their high school or college graduations.  Many businesses are taking a really hard hit.  This is affecting a lot of people in different ways.

My travel agent friends have spent all week cancelling vacations that they've spent hours planning and they now won't get paid for.  (Thankfully, I don't have any clients traveling at the moment.)  Eliot's and my Happily Ever Hatter business has been lack luster as of late, and it's hard to tell if it's simply because this is our slow season, or if it's because of the uncertainty surrounding traveling at the moment.  Plus, now that Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line have all announced closures, the trip cancellations are only going to get worse...  

In this time of uncertainly, we need to take a beat before we sound off in the comment sections on social media.  You don't know what someone else is feeling and how this is affecting them.  Now is a time for compassion.  Speaking of social media, don't believe everything that you read online.  Know the facts.  Do your own research.  Be prepared, but not paranoid.  For goodness sake, please leave some toilet paper for those of us who really need some.  Listen to your health professionals.  Wash your hands.  Wash them again.  And above all, have courage and be kind.  °o°

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