Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, more widely known as the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s imperative that we protect ourselves and others in any way that we can. That’s why officials have started encouraging the population to engage in social distancing.
What this means is that we should avoid social gatherings and large groups as much as possible in order to help stop the spread of this frightening virus. While some people might believe that they are in good enough health to withstand it, social distancing can help in a variety of ways.
First of all, even those who are asymptomatic might spread the virus, which could eventually reach someone who is immunocompromised regardless of age.
Secondly, it could help what is now known as ‘flattening the curve’. This more or less means helping our health care system stay on top of the outbreak. Too many people getting infected at once could lead to disastrous consequences for our clinics and hospitals. This could not only affect patients infected with the Coronavirus but those who are in need of medical attention from other issues.
And while the U.S. administration has not put any nationwide curfews into place, we’re already seeing independent decisions across the nation from schools to businesses which are closing their doors for the time being.
With all that said, we know that for those who are currently working from home, this can be frustrating and concerning. Even if you are in an industry where working from home is not available and are instead simply engaging in social distancing, this could be a challenging time.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks, things you can do online and things that you should be aware of!
1. Grocery Pick-up and Delivery
If you’re planning on spending a lot of time indoors and are worried about food shortages in your own home, now is a good time to look into delivery services for groceries. Wal-mart, as well as other retailers in your area, might have these options available.
Watch out as the waiting time might be particularly long, but it doesn’t hurt to try and even place your order ahead of time. If you and your household are not quarantined then you could go for the grocery-pickup option as it would still be a better option than perusing stores at this time.
2. Rely on Your Own Pantry
Now is a great time to educate yourself on ‘best by’, ‘sell by’, and ‘use by’ dates. Before throwing anything out and panicking that you won’t have food for the following days (or even weeks), keep in mind that these labels don’t indicate when your non-perishables are going to spoil.
- “Best by” indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality
- “Use by” marks the last date recommended for the use of the product
- “Sell by” is used by manufacturers to ensure proper turnover throughout the journey of the food product
So don’t worry about finally putting that can of food to good use now! Speaking of canned foods, they can be safely stored for two to five years. High-acid foods such as pickles, canned juices and tomatoes can be stored for 12, even 18 months.
The only things you have to watch out for are bulges or dents in the cans, but otherwise, you’ll be safe!
3. Financial Assistance for Bar and Restaurant Workers
Bartenders, bar backs, or cocktail servers and all restaurant workers might find themselves in precarious financial situations if their places of business are closed down during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Luckily, both the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and the United States Bartender Guild could help you out! You can apply for financial assistance if you are ‘experiencing a catastrophic event or emergency hardship’, which includes loss of work.
If you are financially stable and would like to offer those in these industries a helping hand, consider donating to these two organizations!
4. Be Careful What You Post Online
A lot of office workers have taken their work at home with them. This is a far more relaxing environment for most of us and sometimes we might be swept away by certain events that could jeopardize our jobs, so watch out!
If you want to keep your family and friends posted on social media, be careful what you film or photograph while working from home. Make sure that you’re not capturing any sensitive information on your computer or laptop screen, even if your adorable cat has decided to take a nap on your keyboard!
5. Claim Unemployment
Californians, now is a good time to consider claiming for unemployment if your place of work needs to close for a few weeks.
While you might experience some waiting time for payments to come through, remember to stay vigilant about your current budget. If you are able to supplement, this could help keep your head above water for now.
6. Take Care of the Education Gap for Your Kids
While more and more schools are closing down and cancelling classes for the time being, it’s important to keep supporting our kids with valuable learning materials while at home. Here’s a list of online tools to help you engage with your children or grandchildren: BrainPop, Curiosity Stream, Tynker, Outschool, Udemy, iReady, Beast Academy, Khan Academy, Creative Bug and Discovery Education.
If you’re in need of more, make sure to check out scholastic.com for day to day activities and projects that will help kids learn, read and grow.
7. Get Started with Computer Science
Going down the road of computer science could open up fantastic work opportunities for you. If you’re stuck indoors and have always wanted to learn how to code but never had the time, we’ve got just the thing for you.
Harvard CS50 is a course offered by, you guessed it, Harvard! You’ll have several weeks of classes that involve lectures and problem sets. It also offers you the possibility to discuss the course material with your fellow classmates and it’s absolutely free.
While you won’t get any diploma or certificate for finishing this course, you could use it as a foundation for your computer science knowledge that will help propel you further and perhaps towards a credited qualification in this in-demand field.
8. Struggling with Supplies
We’ve seen reports of people mass-buying products either for themselves or for profit, making it nearly impossible for others to get their hands on them.
If you find yourself in a dire situation in need of supplies and you see someone selling them online at a much higher price, you should know that this practice is illegal in 33 states.
Here’s a list of laws and how they vary by state.
9. Supporting Local Businesses
Local businesses are being hit especially hard during this time, and it’s estimated that as concerns grow throughout the population (along with social distancing), their financial situations will turn for the worse.
If you want to keep supporting your favourite local businesses, consider purchasing gift cards or certificates online to keep them afloat!
10. Free Meals
Another devastating effect of schools closing down is the fact that many students and their families could go through major food shortages.
If you know students under 18, you should check with your local food districts as some have begun to offer free meals. Some districts have even sent out various emails on this matter, but if you haven’t received one it still doesn’t hurt to reach out and look for the information yourself.
11. Avoid Buying in Bulk
While it may seem wise to buy in bulk during a time of crisis, this is not a good idea at all. Not only it is a bad financial decision since after the crisis ends you will be left with a ton of products, but it could also severely affect other people and businesses around you.
Buying in bulk in your local supermarket can backfire from a social standpoint too, as people that see you engage in these activities might start to panic and follow along.
At the end of the day, you’ll be stuck with too many items to consume.
12. Meet Animals Online
It’s not just bars, restaurants and clubs that are being forced to close their doors during the Coronavirus pandemic, but also zoos and aquariums. The good news is, you could still look at all the animals!
Take the Cincinnati Zoo, for example. While they cannot allow visitors, they’ve started broadcasting Livestreams at 3PM EST while schools are closed for kids and adults alike.
But remember, the Cincinnati Zoo is also a nonprofit organization that relies on ticket sales and donations to survive, so if you have anything to spare, consider donating!
The Georgia Aquarium also offers Livestreams of most of their exhibits. Check out the adorable sea otter camera.
13. Start Talking about End of Life
We consider that having discussions with your loved ones about end of life options is an important step. We know it’s not easy, and our busy lives help us avoid these difficult discussions.
But now is a good time to contact the older members of your family and talk about their dishes and preparations- or maybe open up about your own with your own family and friends.
14. Go on a Virtual Museum Tour
Did you know that a lot of museums offer virtual tools? You don’t have to fly halfway across the country- or world, in order to see what’s in store.
The British Museum in London allows you to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. They also have this phenomenal tool for taking a closer look at our world’s history.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. features two online exhibits through Google, so feast your eyes!
How about the Musée d’Orsay, Paris? You can view their most popular art gallery right here.
We hoped our article has helped not only shed some light on what you should do, what you should expect and how you can cope during this troubling time. If you have any other suggestions, make sure to leave them in the comments down below!