By Christopher Pickhardt
The world is on pause right now as it collectively battles the fast-spreading Corona Virus aka Covid-19. The proactive and preventive measures governments worldwide are taking in order to slow down the spread of the virus are unprecedented in modern times. From Shelter-in-place orders in California and New York City and social distancing measures across the rest of the country, governors are urging citizens to stay home as much as possible in order to prevent spikes in Corona Virus cases from inundating our already overloaded hospitals and healthcare facilities.
All non-essential businesses have been ordered closed in an effort to prevent mass gatherings of people. Cities around the world have come to a virtual standstill, with eerily empty roads and highways sitting quietly like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Since many of these measures went into effect early last week, millions of people across the country became unemployed overnight, as their “non-essential” jobs evaporated before their eyes. Schools and universities have been closed. Wait staff and bartenders, barbers and hair stylists, actors and actresses and all types of performers, all suddenly without employment. Restaurants are only permitted to serve take-out and delivery. The entire travel industry, including cruise lines, airlines, resorts and hotels have all been affected because of the virus. That leaves only grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, medicinal Marijuana dispensaries and a few other businesses open to the public. It has been strongly recommended that we only venture out of the house to either exercise (while honoring social distancing of at least 6 feet from the person next to us) or to pick up vital provisions like medicine and food. The rest of the time we must stay indoors.
As we all adapt to this new normal, there is a massive cloud of uncertainty hanging overhead. It is unknown how long we will have to remain bunkered down in our homes, as we have never been here before – at least not on this scale. The Influenza pandemic of 1918 aka “The Spanish Flu” lasted almost two years and affected 500 million people, but that was at a time where we were a lot less connected than we are today. It did not take long for the Corona Virus to spread from China to all corners of the globe. In three months this little virus has caused BIG trouble planet-wide. And in its wake, families are left doing what they can to get by day by day. We all have to take precautions to stay healthy – both physically and mentally, as we are continually bombarded by the media with stories of woe and tragedy, leaving us feeling a bit helpless at times and very uneasy.
I am trying hard to keep a positive state of mind in all this chaos and focus on proactive measures aimed at ensuring a cash flow during this crisis. As a creative professional I have taken a financial hit myself. Film, television and theatrical productions have virtually shut down nationwide, leaving an entire industry in a state of limbo until this pandemic calms down. Some casting is still going on, with a majority of opportunities focused on remote from home work. The voiceover industry especially is thankfully still up and running, so at least I have that. But my video production work that helps keep me afloat has all but ceased for the time being, as many companies are focused on simply surviving this epidemic rather than moving forward with marketing initiatives.
As employees across the globe switch to working from home, that leaves many companies running a physical skeleton crew at their facilities, which means my avenues for sales calls are limited at the moment. The couple projects my partner and I do have on the books are pretty much on hold for the moment, as the ban on public gathering prevents us from actively filming anything right now. Additionally, the few nights a week that I work at a restaurant to fill in my financial gaps has also disappeared before my eyes, as there is a moratorium on in-person dining in effect until further notice. So given that I am relegated to staying home, I am switching gears and turning my attention to writing for the foreseeable future. I am hoping to snag some new freelance writing clients to help weather this all-encompassing storm as well as working on some creative writing projects that have been resting on the back-burner for a while.
I hope this crisis will not last too long, but however long it does last I am going to make the best of this window and work to be as productive as possible. I pray we will all get through this Corona Virus situation safely and most importantly healthy. God speed.