In order to combat the new coronavirus, New York City has been put on PAUSE, which stands for “Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.” According to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point plan, New Yorkers should stay home more and be outside less, limit outdoor recreational activities to no-contact types, and exercise social distancing, among other things.
On Tuesday, I was really struggling with keeping social distance from my refrigerator while not being as active as I used to be. So I decided to take a walk around the city to get those steps in and see if we’d reached the point of being a ghost town. Not in the least, I found out. There were plenty of New Yorkers in the streets: parents with dogs and babies, construction workers, and people going to and from grocery stores, coffee shops, and so on. Definitely, the city feels less crowded — like a Sunday morning or some international holiday when everybody’s out of town. But it was just an ordinary late March weekday, so there’s that.
Making sure to keep that required 6-foot distance, I asked some of my fellow New Yorkers what they think about this whole situation. All of them are so very different — and yet, they shared the same fears and the same hope that everything will be alright. I hope so, too.
Teddy Lucid: “It’s crazy. We all have a serious responsibility. Just stay home. New York City has done a good job. I’m a big party animal, but I love how they closed down clubs, bars, anything. Only essential places are still open right now, which I think is probably the best.”
Jay: “It’s an unprecedented situation. I’ve never been in a situation like this. Requires a response unlike anything that we’ve experienced in the United States, especially here in New York, which is effectively the epicenter of the pandemic for the United States. It’s been very unusual and an adjustment certainly. I tend to believe, actually, the virus likely made its way to New York earlier than we think. I think it’s too widespread.”
Hilary: “It’s a little wild, I definitely have to take it day by day to keep my sanity. My future is very uncertain. I am an actor and I work in a restaurant, so a bunch of my projects were canceled and I lost my job. I don’t feel very good at adulting right now. I’m doing a lot of self-care, just to get through the day.”
Aaron: “I was actually in Spain, in Madrid, when it was starting to kick off there. So, I’ve kind of seen how two governments and two cities respond to it. To be honest, I think [Spain] responded a bit better, because the government’s ability to, like, really put a demand nationwide, it’s difficult here. But I think, people are, for the most part, doing what they can. But I do see a lot of people on the streets.”
Camilah: “Right now it’s a little boring at home, so I started volunteering. I work for the DOE. We’re trying to help our students, kids of police workers, union workers, MTA workers. They still have to be on a clock, so, you know, their kids can still come to the schools. Today is my second day. I’m scheduled so far for the week. If it goes good this week, I will continue. ”
Lilian: “I was just thinking, as I was walking here, I wish I could stay here longer, but the governor and the mayor say you shouldn’t be outside too long. So I was thinking, OK, I gotta go back, but I was looking for sun.”
Brian: “For the most part, I’ve been staying home. Just trying to do a bike ride by myself in the morning to get out of the house. I’ve been drinking wine. I’ve never drank wine really before. Just trying to use the time, started playing guitar, which I haven’t done in a while.”
Lora: “I’m actually Italian. It’s uncertain times. It’s scary. I have lots of friends losing their jobs, and I feel uncertain about my job.”
Steven: “I’m working from home, and my computer stopped working, so I actually had to go to the office. It was a little scary to take the train. I was very careful, wore a mask and gloves and sat apart from everybody. I mean, luckily, the trains are a lot less crowded.”
Manuel: “I deliver pizza. I now work 15-20 hours a week; it was more than 50 hours before. There are no more customers.”
Muhsin: “It’s scary. It’s spreading really fast. This is my second time getting outside after this situation, because, you know, weather.”
Mara: “I don’t know, one side of me thinks this is insane, like I can’t believe everything’s closed, it’s crazy. But then on the other hand, obviously everyone does have to be cautious. So, I like get it. I mean, I’m only 20 — I guess I’m okay with what they’re doing, and I almost kind of wish it was like more crackdowns or we could just like be eradicated. And then we could go back to living life how we’re used to.”