In a matter of days, the economy came to a screeching halt.
In a matter of days, most of the hospitality workforce found themselves filing for unemployment as the state Legislature worked to waive waiting periods. The so-called gig economy also dried up and phones stopped ringing for self-employed tradespeople. Fishermen have been asked to stop fishing and those with supply are taking to the streets to sell directly to the consumer.
In a matter of days, small businesses closed their doors as people were asked to self-isolate, leaving many businesses owners to wonder if they will actually be able to reopen.
In a matter of days, health-care workers found themselves on the front lines as a virus called COVID-19 began to appear in their hospitals. While we hunker down at home and learn how to work remotely, think of these workers who are risking their lives as well as the safety of their families.
It is difficult to watch the economy freefall; to see friends and family struggle and to see businesses close. Without immediate and drastic help from the federal government entire industries will fail and families will fall behind. This is beyond anyone’s control, which is exactly what government safety nets are intended for.
But what if you are fortunate enough to be minimally affected by a freefalling economy? If you have the means, consider using them to support as much of the economy as possible. Consider getting takeout or delivery from one of the open eateries (and over-tip if you can), or purchase a gift certificate for something you know you will use at a later date (or, think Christmas) and ask that it to be mailed to you (minimal contact there). If you can support a business in other ways, reach out directly. Chances are the business owners will be happy to answer a phone call.
And if you do need to venture out and you go into one of the few open businesses, thank the employees who are working there because they are also risking their health, and that of their loved ones, to make sure you have what are deemed essential services.
Remember that we are all in this together. Reach out to your neighbors, video chat with your loved ones, find one of the many virtual experiences being offered online, and find ways to stay connected even as we are asked to remain apart.