At the time of this writing, we are in the grip of a pandemic – the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. The best way of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak is to slow the spread of the virus. This means closing down many public venues, limiting social gatherings, and postponing public events, even something as large as the 2020 Olympic Games, in order to give the contagious virus fewer chances to leap from person to person. Even grocery stores have chosen to modify their hours and set aside special shopping times for the most vulnerable members of our community. You can follow or like our page on Facebook for updates on the coronavirus crisis.
Right now is an incredibly stressful time for people across the globe. With so many important events being cancelled and so many businesses and public venues closing their doors, it can be difficult to remain optimistic, especially when these closures can affect your livelihood. Many people are understandably afraid for their immunocompromised or elderly friends and family, who are much more vulnerable to COVID-19. But now is not the time to get swept up in the panic and doomsaying that gets spread all over social media. There is good news out there – response to the virus has brought out the best in many people, and this response is changing the world for the better.
Many workplaces are now letting their employees work from home, allowing them to practice responsible social distancing while still performing their essential duties. In response, multiple internet providers are offering free service for a limited time and free installation to better help people work remotely. Companies like Zoom, Slack, and Google are also offering free services in order to give employees working from home a helping hand, while providers like AT&T have begun suspending bandwidth caps in order to ease the burden on our internet connections.
As many workplaces divert resources towards allowing employees to work virtually, there is talk of making it a permanent option, even when this pandemic is over. Before COVID-19 struck, many workplaces failed to consider it as a serious option. But now many are beginning to consider the long-term impact of permanently allowing employees to work from home. Working at home is not for everyone, but cutting out our daily commute could dramatically increase our productivity and reduce our carbon footprint, benefitting both our businesses and the environment.
The response to COVID-19 could also make things a little better for the service workers in our lives. The people working in places like grocery stores, online warehouses, and big box retailers are on the front lines of the pandemic, working to make sure that we have essential goods and services in these trying times. In response, many companies are revising their sick leave and employee benefit policies for their workers, giving them an essential safety net in case they get sick.
COVID-19 is also bringing out the best in many people. Look around, and you can find plenty of positive news about the many acts of kindness performed in the wake of this crisis. Many athletes and celebrities have stepped up to make charitiable donations to COVID-19 relief funds. There are plenty of private companies that have stepped up to help ease the sudden strain COVID-19 has placed on society. But you don’t have to be a celebrity or a business owner to make the world a better place – you can make a huge difference just by, say, getting groceries for those vulnerable to the virus.
Social distancing is also encouraging families to spend more time together under the same roof, especially now that school cancellations are ramping up. We can treat this as an opportunity to spend some quality time with our loved ones and strengthen our bonds with one another. There are many ways that you and your loved ones can bond while you’re cooped up indoors. You can play board games together, get some valuable exercise in, or even try your hands at cooking together.
Those are only a few ideas to consider while you’re social distancing. Check out this list of 250+ fun things you and your kids can do together while you’re stuck at home. You might think about taking advantage of the internet too. Places like the Children’s Museum of Atlanta have launched online learning programs to help keep your little ones engaged. You can also consider sending the kids on a virtual field trip – Google has a great list of virtual tours to get you started.
These are anxious times, but as you can see, there is plenty to be hopeful about as well. In the meantime, stay safe and remember to practice responsible social distancing. And if you believe that you or a loved one has been exposed to COVID-19, please contact Georgia’s coronavirus response helpline at (844) 442-2681.