Is There Anything Else to Talk About?

Venturing Away From Home in Corona Virus Times

Quarantine. Lockdown. Sheltering in Place. Stay At Home. Whatever you call it, it means the same thing. Don't go anywhere. Or, at least, don't go anywhere that is not absolutely necessary – doctor, pharmacy, grocery shopping are okay when necessary.

Many physicians are switching to telehealth appointments. Many stores and pharmacies will deliver. And there is always Amazon although I hear tell that two-day delivery is long gone – that it's more like two weeks or more now.

We – not just Americans, but everyone everywhere – are living in a time like we have never seen before. We have no experience at this.

No one before now ever told us that we couldn't leave our homes. Couldn't, therefore, see our friends and relatives, go to the gym, watch a movie in a theater, have dinner in a restaurant, stop for a cup of coffee on a whim.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have been away from home in the past three-plus weeks.

It had been more than two weeks since I'd been any farther than the mailbox and trash bin when I went grocery shopping this week. A friend asked why I didn't use home delivery but several others had told me that the delivery services are backed up at least a week. Better to face my fears and do it myself.

So I suited up. I don't have masks and my attempts to tie a scarf over my face failed (actually, I lost patience to work at it) so I did the best I could otherwise: clothing that could be machine washed, a supply of gloves, a shopping list in the order that would get me through the store as quickly as possible and cleaning supplies left on the porch for my return.

I was nervous. Okay, make that frightened. So far, Oregon overall and particularly my county have a low number of virus cases compared to many other places in the U.S. Still, on my few previous forays to the market, customers paid no heed to personal distancing and in that regard, nothing had changed.

It was about 10:30AM when I arrived at the store, donned my nitrile gloves, rolled a cart to the disinfectant stand and wiped it down.

The store had made some changes since I was last there. Two new self-check-out counters, plexiglass barriers between checkers and shoppers, large stickers on the floor to show people how far away to stand from one another on line and signs reminding shoppers that six feet is the length of two shopping carts.

Amazingly, there were paper towels – with a one package of six rolls per person rule. Toilet paper too with the same admonition.

The meat counter was, as during my last two visits, almost empty unless you like British bangers (I don't). But having skipped “senior shopping hours” in the early morning, I was happy to find the cooked chickens were ready and I grabbed one.

The store clerks were terrific, waving hello to me as we maneuvered ourselves to keep that six-foot distance between us. One offered to show me how to tie a scarf as a mask next time I'm there.

As mentioned above, customers were not as diligent. A couple of them, in the middle of an aisle, refused to move to the side to let me by. Another pushed up against me as I was reaching for pasta on a top shelf.

Once, when I told a shopper directly behind me to back off, she said, “I don't have the virus.” And I said, “You don't know that.” Who are these people.

Back home, I cleaned all the boxes, jars and other containers with antiseptic spray on the front porch and placed the cleaned items in the old shopping bags I knew were virus-free and ferried them into the kitchen.

It's nice to have a restocked shelves but most of all I liked seeing the store employees, two or three of whom I've known for nearly a decade. We don't see many people in person these days so a trip to the supermarket is a new kind of treat rather than a chore – however scared I am to do it.

On a different day, I ventured out to my cannabis dispensary as I was running low on the edibles I use for sleep. I was as nervous about that trip as I was the market but driving Terwilliger Boulevard through a densely, wooded area for two or three miles calmed me. I guess they're right, the people who say nature is good for us.

The dispensary was as safe as anything can be, I think. Since I was there a month ago, they had built a floor-to-ceiling plexiglass barrier in the lobby between customers and "budmaster" with an opening just large enough to pay and show my ID.

Also, customers are now not allowed in the back room where the products are displayed. When I called the day before to see if the shop would be open, they told me to order online and they would have everything ready when I arrived, plus a 15 percent discount.

And so they did. Too bad I can't buy my groceries there.

Our lives now turn on such minutiae as in this post. The smallest things take on greater significance and, in some cases, comfort when time away from home is reduced to an hour or so a week.

What about you? Have you ventured away from home?


I went to Fred's to pick up a prescription and decided to use the outdoor window. As I crossed the road I saw a person coughing and wiping their nose waiting to get their prescription. I freaked, mentally counted the number of pills I had left, then turned around and went back to my car. As I walked through the parking lot it suddenly felt like there were a thousand people around me. In the best of times I have a little touch of the agoraphobia and I'm an introvert which makes me comfortable with isolation and social distancing, but sure stopped me in my tracks trying to pick up my medicine. Of course the rational part of me pointed out that if I'd come 15 minutes later I probably wouldn't have seen the coughing person, but then my crazy side said, or the viruses hanging around in the metal box for four hours. Yikes!

We walk an hour a day at various parks and along waterfront bike paths.

Social distancing.

Took bikes in for servicing- bike store just given official permission to open. One customer at a time, hand wash, etc.

We shop for mom's groceries and ours, visit her from a distance,

Same store set up as yours, Ronni. Everyone careful, gloved up. Polite cashiers, plexiglass barriers.

Respect for all service workers.

I visit my 95 year old friend at the ILR where I was volunteering.

I phone her from the sidewalk, she steps onto her first floor balcony, we chat from a distance. Brought up on a farm, father a vet, she loves animals. Use to have a Maine coon cat. Tells me stories about the cat, her former tight wad neighbours.

She reads her paper, leaves it on a shelf outside her door. Another resident picks it up and reads it. Stuff like that.

Sometimes I read to her from below.

Try to stay positive.

Some senior homes here hit hard with CV.

My mom was 100 percent solid about ageing at home- she 's healthy- we are a big family, visit from a distance- call her daily, make her laugh any way we can.

Our provincial and federal government keeps us informed with daily briefings. Rules are tightening up, as some bone heads are still gathering in groups. I heard the expression "boomer remover" thrown around. Some people still unclear on the concept CV does not discriminate by age.

This is one battle we need to win by working as a team.

All hands on deck.

We can do this.

Take care,
Stay safe.

Rural lakefront community. Plenty of space to walk without seeing many people. Keep a safe distance. Local organic farm has an honor system to purchase eggs, tulips now, and greens. Nice drive in the country to get to it. We stand in a long line 10 feet apart. We talk at a distance.

Positive, informative, and personal column, Ronni. You're braver than I. It's been two weeks (today) since I went out to a store.

When I go to the gym (not now!) I give myself some landmarks in riding the cycling machine. The full 30 minutes sometimes is too daunting, so I measure myself in 15s, then add on by 5s. Perhaps I'll do the same with my approach to staying home—this week, next weekend, my birthday, end of the month.

Yeah, that might help.

Here we can order groceries online and pick them up and at all the area stores. My niece says it works great. When I tried to do it I got frustrated using the software and gave up at one store and tried the software ordering app at another store. That went great until check out when the darn thing wouldn't let me go any farther without clipping stupid coupons and when I tried clipping them, it dumped me off the site a couple of times. I gave up and went in person. I'll try it again later on. Crazy times!

You are courageous to venture outdoors; I understand your trepidation. I have not been out since March 14. Both my daughter and son-in-law are physicians and in addition have Master’s Degree in epidemiology so they tell me all the research and statistics and urge me not to venture out, at least until everyone wears a mask. They told me back in February that the virus could stay on surfaces for days and told me, before it was announced on CNN on Wednesday, that “research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes or coughs, but also just by talking, or possibly even just breathing.” That is the reason everyone should wear a mask. As an example Taiwan, 110 miles from China, immediately mandated its people to stay at home and to wear masks at all time. With a population of 74 million so far they only have 348 cases and 5 deaths – a good proof. Please be careful and when going out next time please wear a mask, a scarf or a veil around your nose and mouth like Saudi women wear. Just walking even 6 ft from an asymptomatic person can be deadly. Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences said “the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing.” Take care.

Like doctafil, I walk an hour a day on mostly-empty city streets; when I do encounter someone, we give one another 6 ft plus and often a smile. The parks are another story; our mayor threatened to close them yesterday if people did not comply.

If it were not for the walking I am certain I would not sleep; getting physically tired is essential.

I should have reviewed my comment. I made a typo, Taiwan population is close to 24 million not 74. But still 5 deaths for 24 million is pretty good.

Have walked a few times in the past 3 weeks, but weather here is still too raw and dreary to do it every day. Went to the supermarket two weeks ago, which, mercifully, was not very crowded. The PA system music was playing Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth," and I was rolling down the aisle, mouthing the words. Coming in the opposite direction was a man whistling the song. And we smiled at each other, acknowledging we were of the same vintage. It was a lovely moment, and it reminded me of everything we're missing right now: simple human contact. Connection. I talk to friends and family on the phone, do FaceTime with my grandchildren, and that's fine, but it's all so surreal.

We've been inside almost 3 weeks now, counting from my cancelled 78th birthday party on St. Patrick's Day, easier to remember for me. Yesterday I delivered my care package to my son's family, confined with 7 kids of assorted ages. I ordered several puzzles for them of various kinds. They gathered on the lawn as I leaned on my car and we talked for quite awhile.

I've been getting my groceries delivered from S-way here and get some things the kids have picked up and deliver for me. I do see my condo neighbors when I go to the trash or mailbox and we chat a little from about 10' apart here. We are about half older folks. I get in my car and drive out from our rural town a little so I can see the fields and the Blue Mountains from here still with snow on them. I sleep too much and the last two times I washed my hair a pile of it came out. Stress I'm sure.

I agree that you should wear a mask out. I have 2 that I got two years ago due to the smoke we get here from wildfires. They are washable cloth with washable filters. Providentially I reordered filters for them two months ago. They come from China, no surprise.

Gratefully I have a younger friend who has picked up groceries, we have no physical contact. I'm grateful to live where folks reach out to others. Local online where I live, are filled with names, folks I know, who offer help. All respecting the guide lines. I've had no issues getting Amazon deliveries. A local nurse and friend are making face masks, fabric, not the medical type and left one outside for me. I do curb service at several places, so with mask, rubber gloves, calling ahead and paying, it's an outside 2 minute transaction. I'm all for utilizing whatever my community is offering. I greatly appreciate it all. My mental health is kept. Good by phone, text with friends/family and a car ride with window down, radio blaring music😊

I went grocery shopping yesterday too; first time in 3 weeks. I tied a bandana over my mouth and nose, but it kept slipping and was more of a bother than anything. I also had a pair of gloves given to me by my daughter. I can't imagine there are any available for sale anywhere.

A friend who is making fabric masks at home delivered me a couple yesterday afternoon and I am so grateful.

When I got home from shopping I left all the canned and boxed goods in the garage and will bring them in today to put away. I brought in the veggies and fruits and washed them before putting them away. The cheese, lunch meats etc that needed to be refrigerated I wiped down beforehand.

The grocery store took all precautions to keep people distanced and I found everything except powdered milk.

I was, and continue to be nervous about going out, even for necessary shopping. I don't want to be the one who brings the virus into our home with a high risk husband!
I haven't gotten bored. How can I complain when there are people dying in hospitals for lack of proper equipment?

I'm perplexed as to why Trump doesn't take this pandemic more seriously. He botched the beginning but seems still reluctant to take more extreme measures to limit the spread. I've stopped watching the daily Trump show and I feel better for it.

My local chain grocer had no delivery or pickup for several days so I ventured forth, clad in face mask and gloves. I was happy to see that many people (St Augustine, FL) were wearing masks and we were all pretty good with distancing. The clerks were not wearing masks though they should be and that may change. I've made a few of the no-sew variety and am beginning to make sewn masks, after getting my machine out of storage and re-learning how to use it! Will send some to my son and his kids.

I had been about to re-start at the Y, then this hit, and I now exercise daily to a DVD series by my current favorite fitness leader as well as go out for walks. Yesterday wore my mask walking for the first time. Don't like it but helps with the distancing.

Still do plan to do our UU Fellowship's Dining with Dignity (feeding the homeless) on Sunday, unless we get shut down from that too. We will be providing, in essence, bagged lunches instead of the hot meal spread usually provided. I hope to be able to remain in my truck, which carries the bags, and let two others instruct the customers in bag retrieval.

It's indeed a different world and a unique time.

Ordering from grocery stores for pick up is quite simple and much safer for us. Knowing appointments for orders are one to two weeks out, start a minimal order to get a pickup day and time, and then keep adding to it right up to the day of pickup. Schedule your next pickup order the same way.

Yes, my first outing was yesterday as well, and did like seeing the grocery employees, bought provisions, and only snag, they had the touch credit card for the first time at our Publix yesterday, and the whole checkout ended up stopping because the register, didn't compute, it turned into a bit of fun, as I assured them I would call with my credit card number if they needed, etc. We had gone to get our prescriptions as well... now home again, and going to prepare some food for lunch... stay well, be well, and take care, m

While face masks are unreliable protection against the coronavirus they do scare other people into maintaining a safe distance from you.

I rigged up an easy face mask using a large handkerchief and a sheet of printer paper folded in thirds. The paper fits on the inside of the handkerchief, which is folded diagonally and knotted behind my neck. The paper keeps the handkerchief dry and directs my breath downward. I had trouble with commercial masks because of the shape of my nose, I just couldn't get a good seal and my glasses fogged up.

My last trip to the grocery store was March 9 and except for going to the pharmacy drive-thru once and walking up to the mailbox a couple of times, I haven't been out since. I've been having groceries delivered (they leave them on the front porch) and although I don't always get my favorites, I certainly won't starve. The one thing I've been unable to get delivered is toilet paper. No surprise there. Apparently the stores have it if you go in, but I'm extremely reluctant to do that. I will eventually, when and if I have no choice. I had two different doctor's appointments scheduled in April and rescheduled both for September.

I don't have any masks and have started reading up on how to make one that does not require sewing. I have a lot of bandannas and buffs that I can probably use in some way.

I have been out a few times every week since March 13 when everything closed up around here. No school. No church. No restaurants. Certainly has changed the way we do things. I have been to grocery stores, pharmacy, church office, credit union, gas station, a friend's home.

I too change my clothes as soon as I come home and wash everything. That's a practice I've had since teaching school. Always change your clothes as soon as you come home. Oh, and always take off your shoes at the door. Wash your hands. Put away everything. Wash your hands.

I'm posting on my blog more often, documenting these unusual times.

Two things:
If this ever ends, how many people won't have jobs to go back to because they've been replaced by technology?
I would take my wife out for dinner and a movie, but both are closed now! I guess there is a silver lining to this cloud.


Ronni, your story about the grocery shopper getting too close to you and excusing it by saying “I don’t have the virus”
reminded me of the meme going around that reads “I’m excited that the phrase ‘Get the f**k away from me’ is no longer considered rude but rather a public service announcement.”

That's funny, Amanda...

A couple of weeks ago I was on the military base to pick up a prescription. They have the procedure down pat. Though the airman inside pointing the way I don't recall having a mask. Last week I used the drive thru so hubby could have his check cashed. I was the only one I noticed wearing gloves. Granted I could only see around my car.

Today some groceries ordered 2 wks ago were delivered to my porch. I emptied them outside, wiped down inside and later soaked the plastic bags in soapy water for trash use later. Our store no longer accepts them for recycling.

Well, I have a confession (of sorts) to make. I just returned from food shopping about 15 minutes ago, with 2 rolls of toilet paper & have TGB to thank for it. The shelves at my market are still bare of toilet paper (why?!) but they did have an end-display of Scott TP with a sign “ONE ROLL PER CUSTOMER”. I took 2, and when it was my turn at the checkout, before the checker could say anything I said “Could you please ring this quart of milk and roll of toilet paper up separately? They’re for my neighbor Veronica, she’s 78 and has copd.” The checker said “No problem… Veronica, that’s a pretty name…” I said “It is… we call her Ronni for short.”

It’s not like I can put my groceries in my car, run in and buy a second roll—I have to walk to the store. So anyway, my scam worked like a charm. Unless Peg, the checker who rang me up, reads TGB. :-(

I like to download my credit card transactions every week but the Citi card website has been down for a couple weeks, very concerning. Late last night, I spent a good deal of time on an order for pickup from Kroger, about $200 worth. When I went to pay for it, it wouldn't accept any of my three credit cards (2 Citi, one a different company), even though I pay them as soon as I get the bill and all are paid current. I called Kroger and was on hold for one hour. Finally talked with a tired young woman with a poor connection and soon my call was disconnected. I called Kroger back and was informed of another 40 minutes wait. So I closed out my order and will try today from Safeway or Whole Foods, which I understand takes orders only through Amazon. Perhaps calling so late at night isn't the best plan.

I've had groceries delivered from Natural Grocers, but they don't carry all the products I need. I think pickup would involve the fewest number of people handling my groceries. I would leave non-perishables in the car for as long as possible in the hope that any virus will die, especially if we get a hot sun to heat up the interior of the car. Wishful thinking in this cool Spring.

I go out on Thursday for a medical procedure. Yesterday was the 4th session. The clinic’s protocol has changed over time last week a person outside the door checked my temperature before I went in the door, this week it wasn’t until I was in the treatment room they checked my temperature. I still have to sign a paper declaring all my information is the same; I now use my own pen instead of using theirs. I have a copay so I have to hand my card to the clerk and take it back and sign the receipt. There was a person on the elevator wearing gloves and a mask I stayed in the back of the elevator. I use my elbow to press the buttons as I can’t touch my face with my elbow.
Picking up prescription CVS inside Target doesn’t have a drive up window so I have to go inside wipe the cart down. At the pharmacy I have to use my finger to sign a touch screen when I receive the medication. I use the wallet app on my phone so all they have to do is scan my phone. Three weeks ago I said they should have hand sanitizer there and was told when they had it on the counter people stole it so she had some I could use. I now carry my own.
I was concerned about going to stores at the beginning of the day because I thought it would be crowded. Several friends have verified that. I thought over time the shortages would slowdown. Toilet paper shortages still exist also rice and beans and flour. Yesterday there was a good selection of meat at 1 o’clock.
I live in Tucson and the current joke is social distancing is like living in Arizona from May through August.

Update on my not being able to access Citi cards. Instead of Google Chrome, I used Firefox and got through, no problem.

In my big southern city, early morning senior shopping hours are not working as planned. There are long lines waiting to get in before stores open and no one is practicing safe distancing. Hoarding is still going on and many shelves are bare, no matter when one shops. Stores that offer curbside pickup and/or home delivery are a week or more behind in filling orders. Even OTC medicine like Tylenol is hard to find.
Getting what I need for everyday living has become a scavenger hunt!

Well we have ventured maybe too far (out of the US - essential trip) and now need to get back ASAP as flights are dwindling.

I think I’d tell the a—holes who say things like “I don’t have the virus” -“well I do so back off”. Scare the crap out of them.

Anyway glad you were able to get out.

I’d say I’m about as scared as I’ve ever been.

Right now my BIL (wife’s brother) is literally fightBig for his life on a ventilator in hospital. He is getting great care but it is touch and go right now. Seeing this close up and with day to day reports makes this VERY REAL to me. This is some scary virus.

Have gone out only half dozen times to pod office drop box and to drive thrus at select restaurants in past three weeks or so. Had Pharma free delivery at beginning of isolation but also have drive thru Pharma. Splurged on a special and ordered delivery small turkey breast Honey-Baked when had been none at store when last I went, then froze most slices in portions for later.

Rec’d oranges from neighbors tree and took up their offer to bring items when they went to store so got some bananas and yogurt. Will do again when next they go as they again offered. They leave items on my doorstep and I can retrieve and clean then. Surprised yesterday by LES Asian couple unknown to me standing at distance in my driveway who offered free a pkg of mfg masks, but not the ones for medical workers that I appreciatively accepted. Some nice people in this world.

Some few small items. ordered off net, I.e. needed sewing needles which arrived promptly. A month or so ago ordered Amazon items to be delivered for parents in another state to give grandchildren periodically since schools closed — recd promptly. Item ordered a week later has had a one month shipping delay.

Tech savvy Friends in Orange County became totally frustrated trying to get through to order food delivery from several different stores and services so finally gave up.

I am currently going through chemo and my husband just finished radiation this week for cancer. We are both mid seventies. Since the start I have always been into the social distancing thing. My husband, not so much. Not that he doesn't believe in it, he just forgets.
He is so very social on top of it all. But he is doing so much better which is good.

It could be worse. Living in Michigan we are heading into Spring. If we were heading into Winter...that would be worse. At least we can venture into the yard, take a walk and wave and talk to others (at least 6 ft. apart of course).

I only go out to chemo. It the not so old, olden days, the worse thing about going to chemo was the chemo. Now it's the time spent at the facility with the virus heaven only knows where. And, yes, I know they take extra precautions, but you just never know where it could be lurking.

Whenever I feel down for having to stay in, wipe everything down, etc. I think about all the selfless medical professionals putting themselves in harms way day in and day out. I think about a nurse practitioner in Texas who decided she needed to go to New York to help out during this crisis. Talk about brave, talk about selfless, talk about a hero. Brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart!

Stay Safe All!

I went to the dentist today for a root canal. I liked getting out and the root canal solved a big problem. So a great outing. The staff all had masks on; I did not. I don't plan on using them unless mandated and then I'll figure out where to obtain them.

My wife wants me to stop going grocery shopping and she would prefer to order online. I try to resist; We'll see.

All that I know is that isolation can't go on forever. Sooner or later, maybe after another 30 days of this we will need to try to modify approach to allow a gradual increase in commerce, business and jobs to restart. The elderly will have to shelter in place at their discretion. Those with underlying conditions especially. We should concentrate on helping them to isolate while the young people try to go back to work.

On a final note, I saw an article about obesity being a big factor with those who succumb from Coronavirus. My diet is in full force. I think it may be wise to reduce if we can. Italy has a very old population and we have a relatively obese population, two sides of the sword, both sharp.

Good night, all. jg

So far I'm not brave enough to go to the grocery store (or anywhere else) here in the Big Apple. My husband and I are as locked down as we can be. At 7 PM each evening we step out into the terrace of our apartment (we know we are very lucky to have a bit of private outdoor space) and start applauding, along with the rest of our neighbors who are whooping and clapping, for all the health care professionals, policemen, firemen, grocery store workers, deliverymen, and on and on who are quite literally risking their lives in doing their jobs.

That was the high point of the day. Today's (very) low point —we learned that a neighbor in our building passed away in the hospital last night from this horrible virus, just a couple of weeks shy of her 87th birthday. I didn’t know her well, but she lived the most extraordinary life, quite accomplished in three different fields —I knew this because I had previously read her Wikipedia page. As of this morning it had not yet been updated...but now it has been. May she Rest In Peace. And may God, if there is one, have mercy on our Souls, those among us who have them.

Typo — make that Patty.

A little late to this -- so fascinating to read what others are doing. We've been officially sheltering in place since March 16 and still feel like we're trying to get the hang of it. Our usual shopping habits are very urban: daily to the green grocer around the corner, perhaps to the fish market or Whole Foods in walking distance, then maybe every two weeks to a Costco for staples. So not venturing into stores is proving a big adjustment.

Early on, I drove to a Safeway thinking to buy a lot of basics -- but it felt crowded and everyone felt very anxious so I just left. Haven't been back. We're trying to go to WF and the greengrocer no more than once a week. I used the senior hour (8-9am) at WF one week. It was well organized and felt reasonably safe. Will probably do that again this coming week. Need Matzah. Meanwhile we've gone in with a friend for a big Costco order to be delivered by Instacart tomorrow. We'll see how that works. Oh, and because we were living way out in the country last fall, I had figured out some staple items worth ordering via Amazon, so I've returned to that practice here in the city.

Shopping remains too complicated!

As for exercise, we're both walking a good deal, keeping distance. California weather has been lovely -- and a crashed economy makes for very clean air, though I shudder for all the people losing jobs and the young ones graduating in such a tough time.

We're being very careful (71and 81) living on a small island in PNW. So far, so good. I'm so worried about my sister and BIL in a big city in the East, both with dementia, getting help with in-home PSW's and not really appreciating the situation. This is such a strange time - my grandmother died in the 1919 epidemic (at 42) , and I wonder if we will survive this one. I feel quite calm about it, but so angry at the orange terror in the WH. Everyday, he shows how stupid he is and how incapable of taking charge of this horrid situation It's so surreal.

Yes, surreal is the word. I feel like I'm living in a Stephen King horror story.

Didn't go out all winter (fear of falling) and now I can't go out. When I finally make it, will I be the last person alive? What will I do.

Turn out the lights, I guess..

We don't go out, we are both over 70 and with other health issues. We're lucky we have a garden and can go for a walk there. In the UK though, online food ordering is big business and all the main supermarkets do it, but they have been swamped and are not accepting new sign ups. Even if you are already signed up it is difficult to get a slot. Last one I had to stay up past midnight when the next batch were released, and even that was two weeks ahead.

Prescriptions if we need then can be picked up by a volunteer in the village, who gets a batch together and picks them all up from the pharmacy at an agreed time. We ran out of milk and another neighbour dropped some off for us.

We are lucky in that dozens of local businesses of all sorts are organising themselves for home deliver. We have a farm shop in the village and another 5 minutes drive away. We ring up first, place the order and pay, then they will deliver - same day if we ring early enough - or we can do a no contact pick up.

I initially thought that the sort of mutual aid systems that are springing up everywhere would persist but I'm less sure now because most of the volunteers are elders themselves. Young people tend to limit themselves to supporting family rather than community - with the huge exception of those working in health and home care to whom we all will owe a huge debt.

As some of you may know, I live in an assisted living facility in Westchester County NY. We have been in a total lockdown since March 13. Now, 22 days later, it appears we have our first cases of the virus. Although we have received no official word from the facility's management, signs on the doors of some of the residents rooms say something is afoot.
Fortunately, We don't have to go outside to do food shopping (or shopping for anything else) Meals and meds. are delivered to our rooms and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of toilet paper or hand sanitizer. Staff is wearing gloves and masks and protective gear. So, I feel safe, for now. But just the thought that there are infected residents just yards away gives one food for thought.

Haven't been outside the yard in 3 weeks or so. I live alone and in an area where there are woods behind the house, woods across the street, empty house beyond me at the end of the road, and have only one near neighbor 2 blocks down the street. My daughter gets groceries for me once a week, leaves them on the porch and we talk briefly in the yard, 6' apart. My handyman comes over once a month to change furnace filters and the whole-house water filter in the basement. Other than those two, I haven't seen anyone for weeks. However, I have eight cats, a dog, and multiple bird feeders, so I am not bored! No TV, but plenty of books and magazines as yet unread, lots of fabric and yarn. I am a solitary-by-nature introvert and prefer to stay at home, and usually keep at least 6 weeks food on hand, so not doing badly. Worst thing is that the library is closed!

" Instead of Google Chrome, I used Firefox and got through, no problem."

Carol in Denver...

I had exactly the same experience, ordering groceries online the other day (I'm on the west coast of Canada). Loaded the grocery order into my cart no problem, but when I went to pay, the credit card was refused, and I knew it was fine. I tried off and on all day, then finally switched from the Google Chrome browser to Firefox and it went through instantly.

Have never had that problem with any other store, and I order online a lot.

I go outside for walks. I shop. I'll be filling up the tires on my bike with air. After I do this, I'll start bicycling. I am going to drive downtown to see the empty streets.

I do my own shopping at several different stores during the senior shopping hours. Today, I began wearing a mask because our governor recommended it. I used a Japanese blog to make my mask without sewing. It was very simple and easy to do. I didn't have hair ties so I used a 1/4" elastic to make my own elastic bands which were probably more comfortable. I will be sewing a mask later this week.

I prefer to do my own shopping to using Instacart or curbside pick up. If the store is out of something, I can improvise. If the store has a fruit or vegetable that looks good, I'll buy it. The Instacart shoppers here don't practice social distancing, wear masks or wear gloves.

I also use the stores' plastic bags instead of my own, again at the governor's recommendation.

Stores have changed their practices. Each store is different. In addition to senior hours, 2 stores have set limits for the number of shoppers they admit to their store. There are pre-recorded messages over the PA reminding us of social distancing.

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