This morning didn’t start out too bad. After saying goodbye to my boyfriend after he went to work, feeding my cats and eating a bit of breakfast, I got around and went for a walk. I had an audio CD that I needed to pick up at the local newspaper office so it was an excuse for me to get some fresh air even if it was a bit chilly. I actually was pleasantly pleased to see a few more cars than usual downtown. I even saw some people walking. It almost felt like a normal day again – (aside from the kids not being in school).
Afterward, I headed back home to write an article for a free newspaper that I write for, did a few chores and some research for work. For once, I didn’t feel too anxious about what was going on, but did wonder what news the governor would have today later on. My boyfriend and I were looking forward to dinner and a movie at home with a good friend of ours who was coming over and it started to feel like one of our typical Friday nights.
As the day continued, I began to hear rumors that our governor was enforcing stricter rules to fight the virus. A link was sent to me from a local newspaper, stating that he would be enforcing a “Shelter in Place,” for the state of Illinois, as our number of infected people had increased and we had three more deaths. Just not even 24 hours before that, the state of California had also issued a “Shelter in Place,” and New York wasn’t too far behind.
In the back of my mind, I had knew this was coming next and had already did my research on what this meant. I was expecting it and wasn’t surprised. During “Shelter in Place”, you stay at home as much as possible and only leave for essential items such a getting groceries, going to the pharmacy, bank, getting gas, doctor appointments or going to work if your job is listed as “essential business.” There’s a long list of what is considered essential, as most of it is related to healthcare industry, city jobs, food industry, laundry mats, social work and other jobs among those. Basically, anything that is essential for daily living. Restaurants would still only offer take-out or curbside delivery. Movie theaters are closed, as well as salons, many retail shops and anything that isn’t really essential for living, but just considered entertainment. We are not allowed to have groups gather that are larger than 10. We also can get out to take walks, walk pets and take pets to the vet if needed. Banks and post offices are still open too.
The Shelter in Place begins Saturday, March 21 at 5:00 pm and will continue through the end of the day, April 7. After then, it will be re-evaluated. So now, not only are we practicing social distancing, but now we must stay home more.
Another change today, was that they extended the tax filing season. The new deadline is now July 15. They encourage everyone to still file early as they can, but should anyone get sick, they have that extension. Utilities, rentals, mortgages, are all supposed to allow extensions and not instate any late fees, as there will be so many people who are out of work or have less work hours. And supposedly, congress will be sending out checks to most Americans at some point to help boost the failing economy. Stocks still are plunging.
I am going to do my best to try not to be negative about any of this. I was thinking earlier though, I am living in a historical moment. Right now, we are all making history, as we fight this war on COVID19. And it is not just the United States – this is global. People will read about this years later and they will hear about our experiences and the struggles we faced, as well as some of the positive things that came out of it. And when it is over, we all will be living proof of making it out of this invisible war. Perhaps COVID19 will make us stronger, unify us – not just as a nation, but as a world. Perhaps it will make us more compassionate towards one another… We can only hope, that one blazing bright light will come out of this uncertain darkness.