Honestly, by this point you’ve read all the same things I have. You know that you have to sing ‘happy birthday’ twice while you wash your hands (“Happy biiiirthday, dear Coronavirusss…”). You know that you aren’t supposed to touch your face, though God only knows what kind of wonder creature can actually do that. You know that all soap kills this virus, not just the high-powered antibacterial stuff. And you know that practicing “social distancing” ie. chilling at home rather than going to big parties (especially if you’re feeling under the weather) is, like, a seriously good idea.
Maybe you also know that it’s supposed to get worse, before it gets better—but that it will get better. That the virus will possibly transmit less easily as the days get warmer and that our ability to self-enforce the above actions will massively help to contain the spread, freeing up our hospital (and surrounding hospitals) to effectively handle the worst cases.
But, did you know that there are things we can do to help each other and our local businesses during this period that will help ensure that there’s a society there for us when we emerge from this awfulness? Because there are, and if there’s any place in the whole damn world that truly understands the value and importance of community, it’s the County.
OK. So the upshot is, you can’t control the big picture of COVID-19, but here are some things you can control today and over the next few months.
1. Send a “Just Because” note to your family, friends & neighbours
It’s hard to know what’s going on in everyone’s minds. Most of the people I’ve talked to went from “It’s fine” to “WTF” in a matter of days. Some folks have small support systems and need to hear a voice of reassurance and if that’s you, be it for them. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for that voice, try to feel confident in reaching out to someone else—this community is loving and all-embracing.
Some of us fall into vulnerable brackets, whether that refers to the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions or even single friends who may not have someone to bounce fears off of as the news spills in. Reach out and check in. And remember your neighbours, the ones you haven’t seen since fall? Call them too.
Create networks of love and support and caring. You don’t need to organize a block party, just turn on the light.
2. Virus etiquette for seasonal visitors from neighbouring cities
If you’re visiting the County on vacay, we’re both thankful and wary. Yes, please come and enjoy the fruits of our beautiful landscape and talented community. Please spend your reassigned holiday fund in our local businesses and keep this magical place up and running and awesome. Come and share in our happy place—you’re welcome, but please, please, please don’t treat the County as your quarantine zone. If you’re not cleared to leave the house in your home city, order in and recover darlings. We’ll see you in two weeks. Okay, enough said.
Use a community-minded quarantine zone stocking approach
It’s been suggested that everyone consider creating 14-day stores in case you are suddenly required to self-impose isolation or quarantine in your home. This advice has resulted in empty shelves and toilet paper hoarding across most of the globe. I suppose everyone has their own special can’t-live-withouts, but really, if hydro, heat, and comm are a given—soap (one of our key virus-crushing basics), medications, food, and drink seem to be the big commodities, and for some of us, TV, books, boardgames, and much wine are great perks too.
We are also fortunate to have so many local small businesses that are incredible food and drink providers. I’ve seen numerous posts from these businesses that detail extra, ultra, supreme on-location sanitary practices to defend against COVID-19. I’ve also noted promises of free delivery all over social media (even for wine), tonnes of takeout options, and freezable pre-order locally sourced whole ingredient meals (<— shameless husband plug) that can definitively top any mass-produced pizza you considered buying 40 of.
Do it. Buy local wherever you can. Buy from the faces you see everywhere, from the people whose kids you know the names of. As I tell everyone and have since the moment I moved here: invest in the communities you live in because robust and thriving communities are way way better to live in.
Hey, small businesses! Time to get creative…
Yes, it’s a good idea to cancel that event. You’ve done the planning and you can resurrect it later, but right now, we appreciate not being conflicted about going. Maybe you can get creative about how you connect with your audience? I loved that City Revival decided to live broadcast their fashion show event—more of that please! Remember that constraints make for creative opportunity. Also, LIFE AU LAIT will be featuring County businesses that rise to meet the needs of today in our new series “County Counters” about how we’re fighting back, so if you’ve been working hard to implement a program that helps curb the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace or retail environments, please email or message us with the deets to get scheduled on our lineup. Let’s do whatever we can to have power over this virus, create opportunities for safe commerce, and keep us all connected.
And some other ways to contribute when your pantry’s stocked and your belly full
*Consider donating some of the things you got to people who can’t get them. Did you really need that many bottles of hydrogen peroxide counter spray? Be honest with yourself.
*Buy gift certificates. The immediate income will help keep small businesses up and running until the worst of COVID-19 passes. If you live and work in the County, you know how fragile our margins are, let’s do what we can to support each other and get through this so we can get back to the business of making people happy.
*Spend time with your kids. They’re home and bored and running circles around the kitchen island. You’re worried about missing work or other heavy engagements that keep the power on, I know, I understand. But some things that seem totally shitty are a gift in disguise. Kids aren’t kids for that long in the grander scheme of things and time is so very precious…don’t you think?
*Get out. I mean, literally open the front door and just go into nature. One of the greatest gifts the County gives us are her beautiful fields, woods, and shores. Dust off those (insert sporting equipment or outdoor gear here) and go breathe in that beautiful, fresh, virus free air. Watch the glory of nature around you, look hard for signs of spring. Pull all the joy and tranquility out of your surroundings and remember how beautiful it is to be alive and how great it will be when this too has passed and we can all celebrate together again.