Until you go outside
Settling into a routine, not all that different than my life before, until you go outside. As time passes the enormity of what this is doing to American small business is terrible. You already see signs that some will not return, their windows papered over and their handwritten notices saying goodbye. Maybe they were already on the verge, or in some cases had barely opened when they got whacked by this. There is a sports bar down the street that never got out of soft opening mode.
My favorite coffee shop still has walk in, walk out service and there are benches outside where you could sit, suitably separated, in the sun when it comes. They have been around for many years and are financially stable, but that will depend on how long this goes on. Their business is driven by the large music school next door, so it is unlikely they will see that return before the fall. I am reassured that with the warming weather I can support them and sit in a nearby pocket park with my coffee.
But the cafe is an anomaly amongst the neighborhood businesses. Most have tried ways to serve take out food and drinks but one by one they give it up; the numbers and time likely make it unprofitable. There is a lot of new construction around here and that does not seem to be slowing. I really do not want to see unfinished, empty building sites.
Inside our isolation lairs the conversation is Coronavirus news, cooking, work challenges, and money issues. The news is relentless and everyone has the daily numbers at their fingertips. We discuss ratios of people sick to people hospitalized, to deaths, and the number I watch: recovery rates. That is where we see the curve start to flatten, a concept few were aware of just a few weeks ago.
Only seventeen days and a world is changed.