COVID-19: “Quarantine” wk. 3, Furlough day 4

Spinning up the blog again, we will see how long this lasts.

To bring the story up to speed, after a two year gap in writings, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. The novel Coronavirus which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire across the globe. The US economy has all but closed down. Here in PA the governor has ordered all non “life-sustaining” businesses to close physical locations. Those that can work from home are, but everyone else is kinda SOL. The entertainment industry has basically ground to a halt as theatres are closed, Broadway is dark, concert tours have halted, and theme parks are shuttered. As of the last figures I saw today, over 6 MILLION Americans have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks (myself included).

With most of our clients putting gigs on hold and the mandated closure of the shop, TAIT has been forced to furlough about 2/3 of the company. Fortunately they are still covering all of our health benefits, but we expect this to last at least 60-90 days unless they can line up some manufacturing and deployment contracts that make us a essential business.

To continue with some perspective on the severity of the situation, today Disney announced they were going to furlough all non-union employees, so a huge portion of the company.

What else? Well, as with any major disaster there has been a slew of panic buying across the country. We had a national shortage of toilet paper. Why? Apparently people are worried they can’t clean their asses during a pandemic. The panic buying also led to shortages of PPE for actual medical personnel. Getting enough medical grade masks and gloves has become an issue as lay-people try to get their hands on them. In many medical facilities now, professionals are forced to save and re-use what should be single-use, disposable masks and other PPE. This has led to a surge in need for people like Ruth and Stephanie to start making washable, re-usable, fabric masks. Orders are coming in faster than they can handle.

At this point, PA, and many other states are under “safer at home” or “stay at home” orders, with anyone who is showing symptoms or has been in known contact with a contagious person asked to self quarantine. Basically, it means that only essential travel is permitted, including: grocery stores, gas stations, caring for family, and outdoor recreation (provided you maintain social distancing while in public). Schools are closed for months. If we are lucky, maybe things like camp will be able to run in the summer.

It is a hard time for everyone. When you couple all the social distancing with the fact that half of this week has been crappy weather, we have spent a lot of time inside the house. Fortunately, today was a beautiful day, so when EJ woke up and said she wanted to go for a hike, we were able to make that happen. Actually, we had a great morning almost completely alone at a local state park. We have had a couple good strolls around the neighborhood this week too, when it wasn’t raining. I am hopeful that we will have some good weather going forward to get in some biking.

We also celebrated Auntie Barb’s 90th birthday today. With the power of video conferencing we were able to get a lot of folks together for a little bit of celebration. Since Auntie B is basically stuck in her apartment by herself, at least it was something. At lest for Ruth’s birthday next week we will be together as a family.

So here we are, 2020 is shaping up to be a super great year. More to come, I am sure.






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