57 thoughts on “March 14, 2020: We’re all gonna …..”

  1. This is some bananas time we live in.... Louisiana has moved it's primary to the middle of June. Being that I hold a very different political stance than most my neighbors it really doesn't matter who I vote for anyway, but it would have been nice to be able to cast a 'meaningful' vote before all the decisions were made. All schools in Louisiana are closed until April 13th. All public events are closed at my institution, and now we're going to be closed to the public starting today for an indefinite amount of time. Our friends who work from home and have a 3.5 year old are going a bit insane with the notion of 5 weeks of juggling work and the demands of a toddler. Dr.Chop's students are going all pitchforks and torches about having to possibly finish the year on line - though many suspect that the institution will recall student to campus for finals because .... poor planning?

    My institution has bungled the public closing leading to a lot of anxiety for the staff. One thing is for certain, poor leadership shows itself in a crisis. That doesn't just apply to the leader of the free world.

    1. This is potentially FZ, but I feel like it isn’t partisan to say that the presidential primary process in the US is a disorganized mess. I would prefer something like a 2-stage process—primary in Feb reduces field, primary in May reduces to two candidates. Maybe make the whole thing party agnostic. Could change the parameters somewhat, but mainly I dislike national offices getting voted on by a few states here, then a few states there. It makes some voters matter more than others.

      1. I agree. The current format also makes it harder for a moderate candidate to get through to the general election (at least on one side of the aisle).

      2. Also, ranked voting. Someone getting 20% of the vote just by splitting the other votes among six other candidates shouldn't get the nomination.

        1. There are problems every which way. Ranked voting is great if candidate attributes/qualities are well-known. But that is not true at the start, so people's orderings are soft.

          The sequential process allows discovery and convergence, but the pathways to convergence are varied and, as we have seen, VERY sensitive to esoteric events and conditions.

        2. Well, ballots will still be split — but ranked choice gives voters much more individual control of the outcome during the instant runoff stage. What I’d hope is that IRV would do is limit the institutional advantage certain candidates with patronage networks or big money backing, at least giving people a chance to vote for the candidates they actually think are most compelling.

          FZ? SelectShow
  2. It hit me hard on Thursday that shit's getting real. I got in my car at 3 and drove around town for an hour. Just to get away and process it all. I ended up hosting a meeting of area restaurant owners/managers and invited a couple public health officials. We listened to public health talk about what IS known about the virus. They shared best practices on what we can do on our end. Honestly, my joint has always been darn good in the sanitation area of the business, but we have ramped up our efforts significantly. Every 30 minutes, all contact points are cleaned and sanitized. Every menu is cleaned and sanitized as they come back to our host stand. I have always been very lenient on sick calls. I never question a staff member, just cover the shift. Now I am engaging my staff as they come in each shift to see if they are hiding illness.

    My wife received a pretty significant check from her dad this January and has another one coming soon. We paid off a lot of debt and took a vacation. She wanted to put the rest in our 401k this week, but I told her we may need it to survive the coming storm. In our industry so many of our employees live pay check to pay check. I am bracing for losing about 50% of my sales over the next 3-4 weeks.... probably $100K in sales during this crisis. I am trying to figure out if I will be able to continue to pay my staff their typical weekly wages even though their hours will possibly be cut significantly.

    I live in a town where 40% the people think this is waaaay over blown and scoff at all the extra cleaning we do. 30% are all ready holed up and are telling everyone on social media that you have to avoid restaurants. The rest of us are being super careful, yet trying to live a somewhat normal life.

    I think I aged 10 years and lost another 1/2 inch of my hairline this week. BUT... I did gain a few gray hairs in my beard.

        1. I said a similar thing yesterday. The difference is for Y2K, people did things by paper or changed the date when systems failed, allowing many to minimize the impact. This time we'll have deaths.

        2. I will be honest. I think the projections of 1 of 3 Americans will get it are going to be fairly accurate. From what I read (sifting through all the garbage out there), a very low percentage of people under 60 will perish from it. My biggest hope is that we are able to keep it away from the vulnerable sick and elderly. I don't think our country has reacted quick enough to "contain" it in regards to the general population.

          1. Death rate will depend on how well we can slow transmission. In northern Italy, in some hospitals they have been having to make very difficult decisions because they are over capacity (and capacity has been difficult to maintain with hospital staff getting sick.). Younger people are more resilient, but if we start running out of ventilators (and people to run them), it’ll be worse for all age groups.

            My wife works at a hospital and she’s been instructed to immediately launder her clothes and shower when she gets home. They have security at entrances to keep symptomatic individuals directed to the right areas. Elective procedures are being canceled to redirect resources. They are having to fire employees for stealing masks and gloves—down to a 4-day supply of gloves. Hopefully some of the measures we’re taking stem the tide a bit so they can keep their heads above water.

          2. Yes, "containment" is already way too late. This is all about lowering the speed of transmission to protect hospitals from overload.

            1. That’s the crucial part, I think. If hospitals stagger, the hidden casualties from COVID-19 will be those with otherwise survivable medical problems (cardiac, stroke, acute or chronic illness, severe injury, etc.) who can’t get access to the level of care they would otherwise.

              1. I think a huge part of the effort is to inform people around us. I had at least 8 conversations with locals today, all people I get along great with, who basically told me "I don't know why people are making it such a big deal" Every conversation proceed into education about all of the info we all have mentioned above. I am not just taking precautions for myself, but for all the vulnerable people out there who don't stand a chance if ill informed, unknowing carriers get them killed.

                1. Each of those conversations did end with a polite, "Wow... I did not know that. Thank you" 13992 more conversations to be had.

    1. Thanks for sharing. That sounds incredibly challenging. I'm grateful to all of the effort you're putting in to make your restaurant a safe place and to help other owners/managers to do the same. I hope you and your team are able to weather the storm.

    2. In Seattle, some restaurants are trying a switch to drive-through service (including Canlis, arguably the default “something really nice happened let’s have that once every twenty years expensive meal” restaurant around town. High-profile restauranteurs are shutting down indefinitely. One announced 40% layoffs.

      I hope things wind up better where you’re at.

      1. We have had an average week, but last night was the first noticeable drop in sales. We will honor curbside requests for take out if requested. Waiting a bit before I publicly offer it.

        1. I've been meaning to ask, what's the name of your restaurant?

          I'm going to have to make several trips up to Pennington and Marshall Counties in the next year for work, so I'll be passing through Alexandria from time to time.

          1. Pike and Pint Grill. It's about a mile north of the interstate behind the Viking Plaza Mall. Take a right at Burger King and you see us on the right. Ask for me, I am almost always here.

            1. “Hi, I’d like to speak to zooomx.2, please.”
              “What?”
              “Zoom. This is his place. I know him, sort of.”
              “GTFO.”

              1. Fair enough. Ask for the owner, and if it pretty lady shows up ask to speak to her ugly husband.

                1. I've never asked for you when I've been there because I just assume you're probably working if you're working. Also, it's been a pretty last minute decision both times.

                  1. Just for future reference for you and anyone else. My name (and my wife's) are on the back of the menu under our welcoming statement. Also, please do ask for me because at the very least I can always stop by for a 3 minute "helloooooo". Well, except when Philo and Nibs show up. Then I just blow them off completely.

                1. Not my most proud moment. But to be fair, to be fair, to be fair.... I was getting my ass handed to me at the time.

                  1. No complaints. I had a great meal and conversation with Nibs. And now I can give you grief.

            2. Ah, I've been so close. I had lunch at Qdoba when I was passing through back in December.

      2. We decided earlier this week to celebrate our anniversary tonight, a little early (Ruth's Chris), but the last day or so I'm even questioning that. Wash early., wash often...

    3. We are going to be doing some ordering out from places over the next few weeks to try & help out. It’s Lent, so we had intended to scale way back on restaurants. We’ve never been able to approach full compliance with the Great Fast requirements, but changes in Mrs. Hayes’ medical situation made us able to base more of our meals around beans & lentils than dairy & animal protein this year. Some of that might get relaxed again if we’re getting takeout from family-owned places we want to support during the lean weeks to come.

      1. I have been seeing some campaigns out there in some communities in which people are buying gift cards from their local businesses to help them get through the crunch. One thing we are willing to do in our area is to honor requests for curbside service on take out.

  3. We're still hanging on to hope that our Sanibel, FL, trip is going to happen toward the end of next week. We're currently in the negotiation between remaining with our flights (MSP-Fort Myers, Sun Country, nonstop – probably one of the less risky domestic flights out there) or driving down. My wife would like us to drive. I'm not convinced.

    I think I'd be on the driving side if it was just our immediate family (2 adults, 3 kids, nice minivan). The flexibility of being in full control of our position on the map is enticing. However, we'd also be taking my wife's parents. That means a completely packed minivan, a woman who needs to stop every 2 hours for a bathroom break (I calculate the straight-through drive now taking 26+ hours one way), and even less comfortable seating for the 2 primary drivers to sit in in order to get sleep recovery. Two primary drivers because the mother-in-law wouldn't drive and I don't think father-in-law would drive due to driving anxiety after 15 years of driving coach and school buses.

    But _really_ if it were just us, I'd probably cancel everything – both for personal and responsibility reasons. However, aside from my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law+family are going down and my parents are already down there. It's a lot more challenging to pull out of things in this scenario.

    And, also, once we're down there, sitting outdoors on a beach that never really has mass crowds sounds like a relatively safe place to be. Much nicer than being locked in my house. It's the getting there and back.

      1. We are trying to get through to Sun Country to come home a day early, my head tells me to get out of here today but am being a little selfish about our vacation time since we so rarely take it. Hopefully it doesn't bite me in the *ss. I'm ready to be home and hunker down though, we would like to get tested (good luck, right?) when back so we can bring my mother-in-law to our place since her residence is essentially on lockdown and isolated from the world (rightfully so).

        1. Yeah, Sun Country is a bear right now. Yesterday evening I got through to hold and put my number in for call back – they never called. My wife got onto hold this morning and we're supposedly about 6 minutes away from talking to someone.

          I read on their Facebook now that they want people to refrain from calling if their flight is more than 72 hours. Our flight is 96 hours away and it said nothing about this on the phone line and we're already halfway home, so I guess I'm going to hold on.

          My wife says she saw somewhere on Facebook that if you're in a rush, to do the online changes and eat the fee, contact them later, and they will credit back those fees. I don't remember what "contact them later" was defined as. I know in a non-busy time I've emailed them and it literally took 30 days for me to get a reply. Still, eventually you might just have to do that to make it happen.

          If I find the Facebook post I'll share it here.

          1. I hate when people say this to me, but their software systems must be really obtuse if they haven't yet been able to figure out how to turn off the 60-day no fee cancellation/change rules online yet. My Facebook comment reading for yesterday still says you must call in to get the fees rescinded.

          2. OK, my wait time went from 1 minute to 59 minutes. Their systems are all messed up!

            All I see on Facebook for resolution is "Please DM us with your departure date, reservation number and if you'd like to change or cancel your reservation." But I see no one saying, "Hey, ya'll, I did that and I actually received a response." So big time frustrated 🤷‍♂️ right now.

            1. Wondering if we just rebook and handle the refund through my credit card company at this point. Not convinced we will get a call back today.

              1. It stinks, but it's probably "Do what you need to do and hope you can figure it out later" time. I've been on hold 2 hours and 8 minutes.

                  1. We just checked again online to just say F it, make the change and amazingly now there’s no change fee. So good on Sun Country for figuring it out

  4. Thoughts on donating tickets for cancelled performances? MN Opera. Was a gift for my parents. How much of that will help performers/staff through a hard time? How much would go to things like institutional endowments (not a bad thing per se, but not directly responsive to the circumstances).

  5. My wife works for an assisted living company. They just had someone die from the virus; meanwhile, many families are threatening lawsuits because they're not allowed to visit their loved ones.

    1. While my parents were out of town the past few weeks, my siblings and I were making daily visits to my grandfather (and we were told repeatedly how much he appreciated it). I'm very reluctant to visit him now just in case I've somehow been exposed.

      1. They've closed off visitors to my Mom's nursing home, other than in an emergency situation. It's hard on Mom to not get visitors, and it's hard on us not to be able to see her, but I totally understand it. A nursing home pretty much by definition has the most vulnerable population around.

  6. CC to brianS - I am blocking you on Facebook due to the fact that you are obviously trying to make me warm up to Guy Fieri. Sneaky... very sneaky.

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