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“Keep Your Distance and Wash Those Hands!”

“Keep Your Distance and Wash Those Hands!”

By Lani Gering

This is the first time since I started “helping” David and Bob with the Old Town Crier in November of 1994 that I have felt the need to editorially contribute something other than my normal assignments – ie Profiles, the Harbor section, etc. I have gone from donating my time and “expertise”, whatever that is, to being the force behind getting this publication pulled together each month. While we have been through some rough times over these past 32 plus years, we have still maintained a pretty darn good publication both in print and online. Never before this “virus” situation had we ever contemplated not publishing an issue. So much of our ad revenue is dependent on the hospitality/food service business and we lost close to ½ of our monthly income basically overnight. We haven’t missed publishing an issue since the first one hit the streets in January of 1988 and we are doing everything we can to continue the trend. That includes reducing the number of pages (due to the loss of ads) and lowering the print run (due to the fact that a major portion of our distribution outlets are closed) in order to save some money. We have had to make some tough decisions and you will notice that this issue doesn’t have the glossy cover wrap that you are accustomed to – we have had that pretty wrap for over 20 years! On the upside, however, you might notice that the entire publication feels a little heftier. That is because we were able to upgrade the quality of the paper for the entire issue as a trade-off and still save a chunk of change at the same time.

Who knows what the “New Normal” will be when we start to come out of this disaster. The “rules” change on an almost daily basis but at the time I am writing this it looks like some businesses in Virginia may be able to open as soon as May 8th with Phase One as long as the statistics on COVID-19 continue to decline/stay the course. I am worried about all of our businesses but more particularly worried about our many friends in the restaurant/food industry realm. The proposed mandates that are coming down on them in order to open up seem a bit of an overkill to me. Hopefully by the time you are reading this – things will have taken a better turn for them. For now, let’s keep ordering our eats to go and have them delivered or pick them up curbside along with an adult beverage or two.

I don’t think any of us really thought that this “shelter in place/social distancing” mandate would last this long when the order came down the pike in mid-March. The idea that we were being told to keep 6 feet between us at any given time and that we couldn’t hang out with more than 10 people total and couldn’t have more than 6 people in a group seemed a bit ridiculous. But, here we are over 8 weeks later with the same restrictions and the added recommendation to wear a face mask in public. I have to be really honest here and say that I have a bit of a problem with the wearing a mask in public. I totally get wearing one in the stores or where you may encounter other warm bodies face to face but wearing one while I’m walking around outside ain’t gonna happen. If you pass me on the sidewalk/street/bike path, rest assured I will not spit, sneeze or cough in your direction and I appreciate it if you follow suit. I could go on and on about several things about the rules that twist me but that can wait for another time. Maybe when we reflect on this disaster when it has passed.

In the meantime, we are all trying to cope as best we can. I have never said that I wish I hadn’t taken the buyout from my USDA job in 1994 until now. It would be so nice to have that paycheck coming in every two weeks while I worked from home. On the other hand, had I not left the Feds, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here today penning this piece. I am thankful for that.

Right now I am pretty much doing my part to follow the mandates and I am happy that doing the distribution to the mountains and the bay is considered “essential” in Maryland and is allowed in Virginia. Taking these drives is what has kept me sane. That being said, “Keep Your Distance and Wash Those Hands!”

I know a lot of you will have read this “Same Boat” quote on Facebook or some other social media platform, but I wanted to share it with those of you who are old school and like to read print. I think the message is an important one.


I have heard that we are “all in the same boat”, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

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