Covid-History Item Type Metadata
Glens Falls, New York
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?
It was a weird weekend. I knew it was coming - I had a friend whose mother teaches in China, and through a lot of January/February he had told me about how scary things were for his mom. Then in early March I actually drove to Washington, D.C. to visit this friend. We both had an inklink that coronavirus was coming, but didn't really know how soon and hard. Nothing was shutting down yet. That wound up being the weekend that a lot of people started stocking up on everything, toilet paper and all. We went to the store on Saturday night to pick up a few things, and there were lines of people, stocking up on whatever they could get their hands on, and shelves empty of certain things. As happy as I was to be there with my friend, my first thought was "oh god, when I get home I need to do this before the panic gets as bad in my small upstate NY town as it is here." And so the next day, that's what I did. After a 7-hour drive back upstate, I got home, set down my bags, and immediately went to Price Chopper to stock up myself. It wasn't in my head as an absolute doomsday scenario, but what was clear was that people were prepping like it was one. The next week, I went into the office Monday and found out I would be working from home starting Tuesday. Like I said, hell of a weekend.
How is your life different now than it was before the pandemic?
I've been working from home since mid-March, and have a much better understanding of my own workflow and where I can and can't focus. I've also been swinging wildly between trying to eat healthier and breaking down to comfort foods. I had also just started building a habit of going to the gym before the quarantine started, and honestly I haven't really been able to make that up.
How are you feeling? What are you doing to relieve stress?
Some days I have a really hard time getting anything done. I just stare into space, trying to get started working and unable to. I try to be creative to relieve stress, and some stuff works; I host a podcast, and that's been a good project. I've also started hiking recently, which has been really nice.
What have you noticed has changed in your community since the outbreak? What has surprised you?
What has surprised me is how readily and willingly people have kept supporting local restaurants. I'm a reporter, and have talked to a lot of businesses that sound like they're coming out the other side of this okay.
Are you a business owner who has had to close? If you are still open, how have you had to adjust how your business operates?
No, but see above answer. To add to that too, I have seen this hit hardest for places like the Glens Falls Shirt Factory. You've got a lot of tiny studio shops in there with just one or two people behind them, and a few of those have had no choice but to close. On the flipside, though, you have the owner of the shirt factory building, who a couple weeks ago started the shirt factory food truck corral back up again. He's workiing his hardest to support both the businesses inside the building and the restaurants that come and rely on the space.
Are you an essential employee? What do you do? What precautions are being taken at your workplace? What precautions are implementing at home?
I am an essential employee. I am a digital reporter for a news station. I was already working outside the main office, as the main reporter for Warren and Washington counties, so exposure to coworkers was not an issue to begin with. At home I am trying to be diligent with things like hand sanitizer and washing everything extra regularly.
Are you an employee who has been laid off or furloughed? Were you able to get unemployment? Were you able to retain your health insurance?
Are you working from home? What adjustments or challenges are you experiencing?
Focus is harder at home. I like some things, like being able to make lunch in my own kitchen, but working in the same space I live makes it harder to focus in on work, and also hard to just exist while not working at times. I like having seperate spaces for work and personal life.
Do you have children at home? How’s it going?
If you’re a student, was school canceled? Were you able to complete your studies online? Do you think you’ll be back on campus in the fall?
Did you have to postpone any major life events? (e.g. Graduation, wedding, major birthday) What did you do instead?
Nothing that huge, but some travel plans were canceled. Some friends and I have traveled to Bonnaroo music festival in Tennesee every June, even as we have moved further from each other; one now lives in Boston, one in Philadelphia, one in West Virginia. It was disappointing to realize we won't be able to have our usual reunion, but whether it's in September or next summer, we're holding on.
Do you have animals? Did you adopt a pet? How have they impacted your day?
I actually moved in with a friend right as this was starting, and now live with him and his cat. The cat is a delight, apart from when he pooped under my desk.
What positive things did you contribute to or notice take place?
A lot of people just ready to help each other. A lot of people doing the little things, like putting rainbows up in windows to say hello and try to make things a little brighter. A lot of support for medical professionals; maybe more than the national government has been willing to spare.
Did you or someone you know contract COVID-19? What was it like?
A friend of mine lost both his grandparents in Florida to it. Same nursing home. There, as here, nursing homes have been some of the biggest and most horrific pressure cookers.
If you lost someone during the pandemic, how did you celebrate their lives?
What do you wish you knew before the pandemic began?
That an uprising for racial justice would slam into it
What would you want future generations to know about the 2020 pandemic? How would you recommend they prepare for it?
Save up some money for a while beforehand, in case you lose your job. If you don't make yourself hyperaware of who you know who is at most risk of taking the biggest hit, and do everything in your power to pay it forward and help those people.
How do you think this pandemic will change how we behave going forward? What will the “new normal” look like?
Probably a lot of additional sanitization procedures will stay in places like restaurants and hotels. Also some people might stay working from home.
Southern Adirondack Library System
“Jay,” Leaving Our Fingerprints on History, accessed August 8, 2022, https://fingerprints.sals.edu/omeka/items/show/70.