I have reached out to some of my friends around the globe who are originally from the “604” area to see how they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the second in the Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere series:
Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere: Anne in New York
Name: Anne (Twitter, Instagram)
Hometown: Surrey, BC
Current City/Home: New York, NY
What is your city like right now?
Eerily quiet and oddly somber. Living next to 8.5 million of your closest friends packed into a postage stamp, you get used to a lot of background noise. Now that we’re officially on a city-wide lockdown (or as the city brands it, “On Pause”), there’s a distinct weird vibe. Almost every store front is closed & shuttered. Notes are taped to most front doors stating “Closed to help do our part to flatten the curve”. Streets and sidewalks are empty and the lack of humans has also made an impact on the wildlife here – there are definitely more city rats roaming around (I heard Italy got Swans, I wish it were Swans here :/ )
How has COVID-19 personally impacted your day-to-day (work/life routine)?
Completely. The city went from recommending you stay home as much as possible, stagger work start times, to asking restaurants to reduce capacity by 50% as well as a ban on large crowds over 500. To (as of last night), a full pause went into effect: all businesses are closed, except “essential services” (mainly healthcare facilities, utilities, grocery stores, pharmacies etc..), and even those have a limit on how many can enter at once, police are stationed inside or at doors to enforce the law. Everyone must work from home, except essential services workers.
The MTA (subway) posted that ridership went down from a daily average of 5 million riders to just 1 million. The timeframe for all of this, 10 days.
How have you been coping with isolation/quarantine/lockdown?
I’m lucky enough to work for a company that already allowed a work from home lifestyle so it wasn’t a complete change of pace. Personally the hardest part has been dealing with our building being under a full renovation. Not the most ideal time to be forced to work from home while the apartment next to you is being sledge-hammered. But you learn to deal with construction noise over video calls and your partner making guest appearances because you live in 600 sq ft.
A lot of New Yorkers have similar challenges, tiny apartments and lots of people crammed into them trying to go about their work routine. I know it could be worse; many, many people have lost their job altogether. So it’s important to keep perspective and help others when you can.
What have you been cooking at home?
So uhh New Yorkers don’t use their kitchens for kitchen things, so I had to dust off the cobwebs and make it fit for human consumption again. I baked cookies though! But they came from a tube. But they were yummy! and then I ate them all in a weekend. Next question please.
Do you have enough toilet paper?
Like a regular amount for 2 people. Remember I live in 600 sq ft with 1 closet. Space is precious! Also STOP HOARDING PPL.
What’s keeping you most entertained?
Honestly, I work a lot more these days, all these changes to the business structure has really increased the amount of IT support needed. But in my downtime, Netflix, bless the makers of binge watching.
What makes you happy right now?
So happy I have a partner I can hunker down with (s/o Randeep). My dog Milo (he doesn’t know what a pandemic is and is currently living his best life with both humans home all day). Also Friends & Family – I love that I know so many great people that I can text random weird internet memes to and we can keep each other in good spirits through uncertain times. Also chocolate. Also bourbon.
Any advice for Vancouverites?
Watching the trends in Italy and now the US – key take aways are, we didn’t respond strongly enough, soon enough. Now were #2 and #3 in the world behind China for total number of infections. It’s not a contest that anyone wants to win and there are still skeptics who think we’re overreacting. (Spoiler: we’re not). Wash yer hands! Stay home – but go for walk when you can stay a safe distance away from others.
DON’T HOARD – it’s not that kind of problem, but it’s turning into that if you keep hoarding. We don’t need masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, hospitals do — donate to them if you have extras!
Also FACT CHECK your news. I see so much misinformation floating around it’s mind boggling what people will believe. News is changing fast, I get it – even the experts are learning as we go. But it’s a skill to learn about factual news sources – do your best to spread the right info.
Fill in the blank: When this is all over I really __
… need a vacation (like in a safe, responsible way of course!)
Read more in my COVID-19 news and community series here »