Lockdown in the USA has been one of the weirdest things I’ve experienced. It went from everyone joking about the pandemic, to horrific death tolls, back to a joke, and now we’re all protesting. It’s been a rollercoaster and a very difficult time for its citizens. The world watched us as we handled COVID-19 poorly and in the coming months, I am worried to see the lasting effects especially during the second wave. However, we as people, are resilient and hopeful. I hope the USA can learn from its mistakes during the second wave and act accordingly.
Where in the world are you located?
Charlotte, NC, USA
What are lockdown regulations like?
Lockdown regulations differed from state to state. For example, if Florida’s governor decided that they would stay open, they had the right to. But, in North Carolina, lockdown began on March 17th. Initially, it began by closing businesses unless they were essential (logistics, grocery stores, healthcare, restaurants for takeout, etc.) so, many people lost their jobs. Regulations included no gatherings of more than 10 people, unessential travel should be avoided, or it could result in a misdemeanor charge or fine (but that was never enforced), and social distance as much as possible. Going on walks, and being outdoors was encouraged but all the state parks, and trails closed down. Then we started reopening in phases by May 14th. “Phase 1” included parks and recreation to open up, retail businesses opened up at half capacity, and childcare facilities opened for essential workers. We are currently in “Phase 2” for another 3-5 weeks which means that restaurants opened up at half capacity, stay at home orders were lifted, and people are allowed to gather up to 25 people outside. Once “Phase 3” goes into effect, essentially all restrictions will be lifted, and normal life can continue.
How are you keeping busy?
During lockdown, I took a walk every day. Lockdown was an extremely depressing time and so hard to adjust to. I am a social person that thrives off of interaction with other people, so it was difficult. So, to combat those feelings, I ran/walked a trail by my house every day. I was so excited the first time I saw someone else passing on the trail and we got to say “Hi” to each other. Other than that, I cleaned just about everything you can imagine. Even the little crevices of my drawers. As expected, Netflix and every other streaming platform became my best friend. I watched a full TV series in a day once. Now that we’re in “Phase 2”, I am back to working. I am a bartender/server at a restaurant, and we are open at half capacity. I am required to wear a mask and gloves but the fear of getting Coronavirus sits in the back of my head every minute. I am happy to be back doing something productive and purposeful but with that comes so much anxiety. After the second week of being open, it doesn’t really seem like many people care about the pandemic. I’ve heard one too many jokes about it and my restaurant gradually became busier and busier. Life is starting to look normal here in North Carolina as people disregard the threat of COVID-19.
What do you miss doing the most?
The thing I miss doing the most is traveling. When I’m working, I have a lot of flexibility so over the weekends, I like to take trips to the mountains, the beach, and other big cities in North Carolina or surrounding states. It’s been stressful to feel so restricted however it is warranted and necessary. I can’t wait to visit friends and see new things. I also miss going for a night out and being able to have fun with my friends carefree. It won’t happen now, but in time, it will happen again.
What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?
The first thing I’m going to do when lockdown is over is have a beer with my friends at my favorite dive bar. There’s nothing more comforting than sitting on the porch of a bar with a beer in your hand day-drinking. While technically, I am allowed to do this at this stage in North Carolina’s reopening, I am trying to take more precautions about going out unless necessary considering I am now working in a restaurant and potentially exposing myself more frequently. It’s difficult to see everyone out and about but the pandemic hasn’t halted just because the economy needed to reopen.