As Columbus continues to awaken from its economic slumber, many residents have voiced concerns that the re-opening is happening too early and that we risk re-igniting the spread of the virus. Our own polling has captured this sentiment and you don't have to scroll long on social media to read your neighbor's opinion on the matter.
While businesses are busy creating safer spaces to shop and dine in, a substantial portion of their customers (many of you) will likely stay home and watch closely as others venture out into the world, masks on face and sanitizer in hand.
But the state of Georgia may offer actual insight into how our own reopening might go. Ohio mirrors many of the restrictions Georgia placed on its businesses as a prerequisite for reopening. These include social distancing within establishments, workers wearing gloves and masks, no self-service stations, to name a few. So far, the results are encouraging.
Their Governor, Brian Kemp, lifted a state order on April 24, allowing salons, hairdressers, bowling alleys and gyms to reopen a long as they followed state regulations. Restaurants and theaters were given the go-ahead three days later.
The move was widely criticized, with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms saying she was “dumbfounded” and “extremely concerned.”
That message was echoed this week by Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease official, who warned before Congress that an early reopening of the economy could risk new outbreaks.
So far, this hasn’t happened in the Peach State. Kemp said this week that Georgia has seen the lowest use of ventilators and lowest hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients since it started tracking the numbers. Confirmed cases still may go up, he said, reflecting greater testing. More than 1,500 people have died, and the case total exceeds 35,000, according to the state department of public health.
“The Georgia data are encouraging,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. “Like many states, a large proportion of Georgia’s cases have been in nursing homes. Georgia has done a great job of helping secure nursing homes recently, which may account for some of the overall improvement.”
As the North Market works towards gradually reopening, things will look a little different next time you are shopping there. Starting May 2, all guests at the North Market will be required to wear a face mask or facial covering; this comes just a day after all employees being required to wear face masks or facial coverings.
The announcement cited the CDC recommendation of the public using facial masks in public settings to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It also noted that face masks are still not an alternative to social distancing.
"In order to best protect our beloved community and prevent the spread of COVID-19, North Market is requiring all guests* wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while at North Market," the press release state. The asterisk states this requirement does not apply to children under the age of two as well as individuals who are unable to wear a facial covering due to a medical condition.
The North Market will be taking the recommended steps per the CDC as well as the Columbus Public Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health. This includes routine wipe-downs and cleanings of areas and maintaining a six-foot-distance from other folks.
"Together with our merchants, and the understanding and cooperation of our guests, we can protect each other. Community support is essential to the future success of our merchant businesses," said Rick Harrison Wolfe, North Market's Executive Director.
If hiding away from your kiddos in your bedroom for Zoom conference calls with your co-workers has become the norm, Ologie has suggested an alternative: invite them!
In past years, Ologie—a branding, marketing, and digital agency in Columbus—has hosted an annual bring-your-child-to-work day, but with its employees working from home, it is switching gears to keep the day running. Instead of meeting in the office, Ologie has set up a day for its employees to bring their children into planned Zoom calls where activities will be set up for them.
To learn more about what Camp Quarantine will look like, 614now caught up with Dawn Marinacci, executive marketing director of Ologie.
614Now: What will the virtual bring-your-child-to-work day be like?
DM: We've celebrated this day at the office for several years now and we didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to keep it going just because we're all working remotely. We gathered up a small committee to help with planning. The day will be a mix of planned events for Ologists to entertain kids via Zoom, and other activities to do on their own with their families. With every day being bring your kid to work day right now, our hope is that this will provide points of connection, excitement, and relief for parents giving them fun activities to do with their kiddos.
What are some of the activities they will be involved in?
We've tried to organize a range of things: story time with the pups (Ologists bring their dogs to work on a normal day so everyone knows each other's dogs), science experiments, a magic show, virtual talent show, make your own popcorn trail mix, making pizza faces, scavenger hunts, recreate a famous photo, coloring contest, other arts and crafts, and Mad Libs quarantine edition. There's sure to be a few last minute surprise activities thrown in, too.
How do you see this helping lift folks' spirits and make them feel more connected during shelter-in-place?
We have a really close-knit group so we're always looking for ways to stay connected to each other through this time. We couldn't fathom not taking the opportunity to get our kiddos involved to help keep us lifted and connected. Even during our weekly company meetings, we've had a surprise little guest who joins the meeting to share what they've been doing at home. Kids bring the laughter and love we all need right now.