Covid-History Item Type Metadata
When did the impact of COVID-19 first occur to you? How did your reaction to COVID-19 change between then and the first case in your town?
In March my workplace cancelled all events and then, within a couple of days, sent all staff home. We were home for two months. Fortunately, though my job is primarily customer service, we were given work to do at home and continued to be paid. Since May, we have been open for curbside only service on three different occasions and open normally but with distancing and mask requirements in between those times. I was very concerned when it showed up in our area, there was still so much unknown. And if anything has changed, I’m probably more concerned now. I know so many people who have had it or their family members have. Our hospital is a regional hub and has been overcrowded and brought in morgue trucks. My family and I have been as careful as possible, making some concessions to maintain our mental health.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
The only places I go regularly are work and home. I had been ordering groceries for pick up, but after too much frustration with not getting what I needed, I have returned to shopping in the store. Occasionally, I will go inside other businesses, but only quickly and very early in the morning. I rarely see family unless we can be outside. I almost never see friends. I am intentionally reaching out to people more by phone or messaging and have started sending and receiving a lot more personal mail - cards and gifts for holidays or no reason. I had never been one to watch TV, but I’ve found myself unable to focus to do much of anything else, like reading or more involved hobbies. I’ve always enjoyed nature, but haven’t been able to spend a lot of time outdoors. When the weather is good now, I’m likely outside and I’ve taken pictures of everything - when different flowers bloom, the leaves on the trees changing - and have noticed a lot of things I’d never seen before. And I have a lot more freckles.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
Emotionally, this has been a real roller coaster. Initially, being sent home, I was too anxious to do anything much. After we returned to work, being around those coworkers and customers felt like my saving grace. Now, in winter, and after months of this, I’d rather be home. I think I’ve acclimated to the boredom. I have taken an antidepressant for years and going into the pandemic I’d managed well on the lowest dose for probably a year and a half. I’m now taking triple that amount and am not sure it’s settled yet. I began feeling so much overwhelming loneliness and crying multiple times a day, sometimes on the way to work or on the way home. I am having telemedicine appointments with a therapist. I’m keeping in contact with people any way I can, but have noticed that they don’t seem to be able to engage as much, probably because of their own stress.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
I’ve been surprised to hear from people I haven’t talked to in years, almost like making amends. Reconnecting is not a bad thing, but there’s a feeling of urgency about it that is unsettling and seems fear motivated.
Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?
I think you could say I’m a second tier essential worker. We open in some capacity of it is at all possible. My workplace has very strict guidelines in place for customers and staff. Masks are required and that is enforced. If a coworker tests positive, the location closes and everyone quarantines. A negative test is required to return to work. We wear gloves when handling materials and clean all work surfaces in between staff members switching spaces. We have an air filter and plexiglass for one particularly enclosed space and are leaving the doors to the building wide open to increase fresh air.
Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?
I’m working from home as needed. I don’t enjoy it abs find it very difficult to focus and be productive.
Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?
Yes, I have a pet rabbit and not being totally alone at home has been very valuable to me.
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
Spending so much more time in nature, observing and appreciating my surroundings. I live in a rural area.
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
I don think there’s anything you could have told me about this that would have adequately prepared me. I’m still adjusting after 10 months. And I say this as a person who was aware that it was likely another pandemic would happen sometime.
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
I hope they don’t forget the lessons we’ve hopefully learned: quick and thorough action in the beginning could have saved so many lives, not to mention the economic and mental health tolls.
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
I think that crowds won’t be popular places to be for a long time. Our personal space may differ from before. And I’m not sure that we will smile as much or make facial expressions because we’ve gotten used to wearing masks.
Is there anything else you would like to add that hasn't already been asked above?
Everyone who has adhered to the health guidelines regarding masks and tried to protect their own health and be courteous to others has been aghast at the people who have refused to believe it was necessary to participate. 10 months in a I still see multiple people at the grocery store, which says on the door it requires masks, not wearing them at all. To me, there are times when government has to step in and enforce regulations that are in everyone’s best interest and I think we could have taken mask mandates a lot farther, a lot sooner and saved a lot of lives. Of course, that probably would’ve been proof to the people who didn’t believe it was necessary that the whole thing wasn’t a big deal in the first place.
Southern Adirondack Library System
Southern Adirondack Library System
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“JPM,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed January 21, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/314.