Drawing a line – How the coronavirus is changing our world

Let me start this post by telling you that I haven’t been into a public building or near another person, besides my husband, in ten days. I started my own “shelter in place” before our governor issued the statement for all Californians due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I thought it was important to self-isolate and still do, but I’m also grappling with a few things. In one moment I am 100% on board with all American’s staying home and I even found myself judging others who weren’t. But I am also wondering at what cost?

Last Thursday my husband and I took a motorcycle ride to celebrate our anniversary. We knew we couldn’t go out to dinner or to a movie so we thought a ride would be a good way to get out.

As we rode through downtown Ventura I noticed a few thrift stores open and a salon or two. Shame on them, I thought. And of course, I even shared that on social media. Shame on them.

We all need to be doing our part!

This last weekend, news and social media were reporting flocks of people going to beaches and to parks and they were publicly shamed for going out in public during this coronavirus crisis. People were posting things just like I did. Shame on them.

As a person who happens to live at the beach, my first thought was; Yeah, but it is okay to go to the beach. Our governor even said to go outside, walk in nature, walk your dog. What is wrong with walking on the beach?

I asked several people and got the same reply I shared earlier. We all need to be doing our part! What part of stay home are you not getting? But now I am wondering where the line is?

I realize the line is in a different place for all of us.

So now, I can’t sleep because my brain is on overload trying to figure out what is the best tactic to combat this coronavirus pandemic. Do we hand our economy a blow to flatten the curve and spread out the number of cases to give our medical community a fighting chance?

Of course, I am going to say, “Hell yes we do!”

But then I’m not in the service industry. I am not losing my business or even our income. It is easy for me to shout a hell yes when that line isn’t affecting me. It is when this comes to our own door that the line changes. And I don’t mean the virus, I mean the impact it will have on each of us personally.

What if you were told as of midnight tonight you can’t go outside at all?

You won’t be able to run to the store to grab a few more things. The bank is closed so you won’t be able to go get cash.

What if you were told you can no longer walk your dog? Or that your job would end today and there won’t be any money handed to you to help pay your bills?

It was so easy for me to judge the salon owner or thrift shops because I didn’t need those things. But the moment anyone suggested taking away my ability to go walk on the beach, I felt completely different.

I don’t know what the answer is and I can’t see how this is going to play out. But I do know this pandemic is going to have a profound lasting effect on all of us. Our mental health will suffer if we do not find a way to come together and see that the line is different for all of us. 

Compassion and understanding of what other people are going through are essential. I know I am guilty of judging. Shame on me.  

Reader Comments

  1. Lana

    I love this post Loretta – you are always so real and honest. I’m leaving my comment here instead of on your FB post, because I don’t want to get crucified or argue with anyone. Our small business is in construction, residential and commercial, and for NOW, we are classified as an essential business. The WHY hasn’t been directly communicated to us, but I surmise two reasons: 1/The health of the housing market is a huge factor in how deep a recession goes (reference 2008). Housing has propped up our economy on more than one occasion. 2/ Banks need construction to continue so that they can convert construction loans into mortgages in a timely fashion (again, I reference 2008).

    Regardless of the reasons, we have been asked to keep working. We only have a few employees, and we have instructed them to take their temperature every morning and not report to work if they have one, or are feeling sick. Luckily we are installing in houses at the end of a build (as we do hardware finishes), so few other workers are there. We have told our employees that if they feel uncomfortable with the number of people in a house, to leave and we will finish the job later. We’ve given them protective gloves and sanitizing materials. We’ve told them that if they get sick, we will pay them while they are off work. We’ve told them that if they don’t feel comfortable coming to work anymore, we will lay them off so that they can apply for unemployment, and their job will be waiting for them when this craziness is over.

    And yet we are still being shamed by others. Shamed because we aren’t sending our employees home and continuing to pay them. We are not a large corporation with huge profits – if we can’t bill our customers, we can’t pay anyone. Shamed because we continue to work, even though we’ve taken every precaution we can think of, and have been asked to continue as an essential service. As long as we are told to do so, and can do it safely, we will try to keep our business running, and keep our employees working.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know where the line is – and frankly, it changes every day anyway.

    My husband and I went up into the mountains and went for a short hike on Saturday. We drove there, saw no one else, hiked, and came home. I posted a picture of the pretty mountains – and was chastised by some people for driving. Because we could have gotten into a car accident and taken away from essential services.

    We’re all just doing our best. Compassion is definitely needed. Thank you so much for writing this post.
    Sorry to be so long winded – guess I needed to get that out!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Lana, that choked me up. I am sorry you are being shamed for trying to keep going during these terrible times. I know you to be such a kind person and I do believe we have gotten out of hand with publicly shaming others when we have no idea what is really going on. Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope it helps others too.

  2. Anne M Bray

    Well said.

    Me, I’m relishing my new “art retreat”. I’m “working from home” for two jobs. It means I can pretty much set my own hours. And I don’t have a total 2.5-3 hours per day commute. Woohoo!

    My boyfriend, on the other hand, works as a produce clerk in a small, private grocer. He is on Day 11 of working with no days off. He’s not complaining — he’ll get a big fat paycheck. Concerning (to me) is his constant exposure to the public. He wears gloves (always has) but no mask.

    I feel great compassion for all the hair stylists, film crews, retail folks, musicians, art galleries, restaurant workers, nannies, etc, etc, that are not getting paid. It’s very scary times for them.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Anne, thank you for this comment. So many people are feeling the blows from this. Like you, I am happy to be home, so it became easy for me to judge others. (I am ashamed to say). You must be so concerned for your BF… thank goodness for people like him.

  3. estellehodges
    Estelle Hodges

    I believe we all need to do our part and follow the rules. Not just “say” we are doing it. All of the rules. Not just the guidelines that work for us. I’m one of the small businesses that will suffer. I’m not complaining about it at all. I’m doing what I am asked to do. My whole family is. We need to stay at home. Really stay at home. If one goes to the park, then everyone thinks they can. The sooner we ALL do this, the sooner we can get back to the new normal.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Agreed, but we are not being asked to stay at home completely. We are even being encouraged to go outside. People are still going to the grocery store, to the drug store, to get gas…because those things are allowed. Going outside is allowed too.

  4. Catherine

    Well expressed sister. As always. We are imperfect humans aren’t we? Most of us do the best we can. I can’t help feeling angry when I see large groups of youngsters out as though things are normal. They aren’t.

    My heart breaks for Lana and for families who can’t afford the loss of income. It’s scary times where we don’t know when or how this will end.

    What I do know is that it’s revealing where systems are broken … where governments are broken and where they seem to care so little about the average joe. I could go on and on about our government. The fact that we’ve had over 10 years of record stock market and corporate profits and they can’t afford to pay their workers for 2 weeks and need bailouts? That’s a whole different subject.

    I believe if we are doing our best in our own corner of the world to stay safe and keep others safe, that’s all we can do.

    Love to you sister. Grateful for your courage in vulnerability. Always.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you and well said. We are doing our part while a few aren’t and that is the way it will always be. I am trying to not be so quick to judge as I certainly do not have all of the facts. Our beach has been so wonderful with everyone being respectful and keeping their distances. However, others may not see it that way. I will continue to get outside and get my exercise unless it is deemed unsafe or unlawful. Stay safe, my friend.

  5. Juliet

    Beautifully expressed, Loretta. I’ve been torn too. And, I know it’s not for me to pass judgment when I – at this point – have not had my livelihood disrupted. Daily long walks with my dogs are the only thing keeping me sane and if I were told no more … it would significantly impact my mental health. Thanks for sharing your perspective and giving us much to contemplate. xo

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Juliet, thank you so much for reading my post and your comment. I shared this post just to give us pause to think about it all and I appreciate your thoughts. Like you, not being able to go for walks would impact my mental and physical health. We can’t forget that staying healthy is the end goal. Xx

  6. Anonymous

    Hi Loretta. Great point here and one that needs to be shared.
    I am still not sure I’ve wrapped my brain around the situation. I certainly have empathy for so many people who are affected in so many ways. Luckily my job is safe however my industry, Tour and Travel, will feel this for a long time. As empathetic as I try to be I still see this from my perspective primarily. Your words remind me thatcher all have our own perspective. .

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thanks Joe. I was doing the same thing and seeing this from my perspective (which of course we all do). And it wasn’t until my beach walks came into focus as a “no-no” from some that I could really begin to understand what others may be feeling. I’m so happy to be home and safe, but I am also so happy to have the ability to get outside so I can stay healthy.

  7. Nancy

    Great post as always…!

    Being retired and living in a state with beautiful weather makes it a bit easier. But yet… I am a social person so it’s a bit hard to not have friends over or be invited over to their place. But… that’s what Face Time is for. Lol!

    We have only been in public to go to the grocery store last week. Chatting to neighbors from across the street. And a ride out to the desert where no other person is. All is good for my mental health.

    This is a rough road… and we hope it doesn’t get too rough…
    I have put everything into God’s hands. He will protect us.

    And let’s thank “The Helpers!” Without any of them… how would we be able to get through this.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Nancy. I feel the same about where we live…lucky to have beautiful weather and a walk along the beach for sure! I too miss friends and the other day I missed my granddaughter’s 7th birthday. This was the very first one I had to miss, and we only live 3 hours from them. 🙁
      This is going to be a long rough road. We have only just begun. Xx

  8. Rebecca

    Glad you posted this Loretta. You know I am a hard facts kinda gal. There is no reason people should be misinformed and shaming others. The CDC and live briefings give us everything we need. And they are fairly accurate. Except we were too slow to act and now the virus is spreading and it will. Containment and logic win every time.

  9. Del Dot

    Hi Loretta, I agree that we need to have compassion. The best way to have compassion is to truly stay at home, and to enable everyone we know to do so. Going outside for exercise is only allowed if walking or biking (not driving), even if it is to parks and beaches. All businesses big and small that are not essential are expected to close. We are all hurting in some way or the other financially, and are all under tremendous mental strain. But we cannot afford not to stay home, or to think we are the exception, or to decide that the one hiking trip we take driving to a secluded area is reasonable. We are in a crisis situation. Grocery trips are only allowed with minimal outings for essentials, preferably by only one family member. I believe that following this to the letter is the considerate and compassionate way forward. I do agree that it is a learning curve for many of us, and that we can be gently guided to comply rather than chastised, because most of us really want to do the right thing.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you for your comment. Luckily I live where most people are complying with the rules. I walk on our beach, which is out my back door. I’m not sure where you live, but here in California, there is no moratorium on driving (at least not as of this moment). We went on a lovely motorcycle ride on Saturday and saw several police officers and patrol cars. No one stopped us and said we couldn’t be on the road. We have been extremely careful, and I don’t go to any store or public building at all. I haven’t for over 2 weeks now. We have at least another 30 days of social distancing, which doesn’t mean we cannot go outside or even say hello to neighbors. It means we are supposed to keep our distance.

  10. overthehilda

    Great post Loretta. We can walk from our home within a distance of 2 km. We can go to supermarkets and pharmacies. Since last weekend more people are adhering to restrictions, which will make a difference. Of course people in essential services still allowed work. Some of those in construction. Once everyone follows guidelines, no problems. I miss my grandchildren. From seeing them nearly every day, to nothing is hard. Zoom helps a little. Stay safe and real. x

  11. Del Dot

    Oh, I see. I thought this was CA wide. Here in the bay area, the shelter in place is a bit stricter than in the rest of the state. I know that we are not allowed to cross county lines for recreational purposes and this includes people traveling to their vacation homes. Travel for non-essential purposes is not permitted which I assumed to include driving, but I suppose could be up for interpretation. CA has closed parking lots to many state parks and beaches, noting that residents near those locations could still use them by biking or walking. Outdoor recreation like walking, hiking and biking are allowed, but they are warning us that they will close trails if social distancing is not being followed. Unfortunately in our area, people are still not complying and are aggregating at trailheads or hiking in groups not allowing others to pass. We’ve really been sheltering in place with only neighborhood walks for three weeks now, even though we live close to very beautiful hiking trails. But, nothing beats living close to the beach like you do – I would take full advantage of that and really enjoy your own quiet beach experience!
    this is our order for reference: https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/order-health-officer-033120.aspx

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