The last few weeks have seen some trying times for Americans as large public events like March Madness, the Boston Marathon, festivals and more across the country have been canceled to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in our country.
In some areas of the world, it can feel like a different time as people are asked to stay home, except when essential. But even though these are unprecedented times and have asked us to stretch our mindset about everyday life, we’ve seen some bright spots that remind us of how great humanity really is.
Those bright spots come in some unlikely places, such as companies offering their services for free to ease idle children off from school and communities banding together to offer a friendly nod and hello at the grocery store despite the necessity for social distancing.
Free resources for kids out of school
Throughout the country, many K-12 schools, daycares and universities closed or moved instruction online. Many parents are working from home and need activities for their children to do, and ideally would like for those activities to be educational.
Companies and organizations have stepped up to help ensure children have access to remote and online learning options. Check out these companies that are now offering their services for free to support parents and their children during this time.
- ABCmouse, Adventure Academy, and ReadingIQ are all free for children in school districts that have suspended in-class instruction.
- Zoom Meetings offers its products to schools for free to assist with remote learning.
- Spectrum and Comcast are offering students whose household is not a current customer free Wi-fi for 60 days to assist with online classes.
- Zoos, museums, opera houses and more are offering free virtual tours to help educate and occupy children and adults staying home during the coronavirus.
- Disney Plus started offering Frozen 2 three months in advance to help keep children entertained.
Delivery services and shipping costs waived
It isn’t safe for at-risk people to go out and about to shop and purchase food. To help, companies are waiving their shipping costs or delivery fees to help the vulnerable get the food and goods they need without going out. And, these delivery services might help small businesses stay in business during closures and adjustments to their business model to observe social distancing.
- Uber Eats and GrubHub are supporting local restaurants that have been ordered to close their dining rooms by offering free delivery services for all independently owned restaurants.
- Faced with closing retail locations, many stores are offering free shipping on all orders to ease the stress on people in need of goods.
We’ve learned to appreciate our social interactions
We might have taken our neighbors, friends and local events for granted before the coronavirus forced us to pause such gatherings. Even simple handshakes during business meetings, a hug at a family reunion or a friendly conversation at a grocery store are gestures that we’re all starting to miss.
Heck, we might even miss traditional business meetings now that many people are working from home. Once we return to the office setting when social distancing ends, people might even enjoy meetings to see coworkers, problem solve in person and simply enjoy one another’s company.
In Italy, people are singing from their balconies to entertain one another and avoid loneliness while they stay home. Those that aren’t singing are playing tennis from one window to the next in their complex. It shows just how important social interactions are, and people are unlikely to take those for granted anytime soon.
The outdoors feel like a destination
With so many businesses and other places where people gather closed, suddenly, the outdoors feel like a destination. Thankfully, spring is here in many parts of the country and the warmer weather makes it possible to get outside despite not having many other places to go.
People are headed to parks to get exercise since many gyms are closed, observing social distancing while there of course. Bike paths are filled with runners, walkers and bikers alike. And because there are no events, families have the time and freedom to head out into the backyard and play catch or enjoy other outdoor activities.
Digital communication has taken center stage
We’re social beings, which makes the requirement for social distancing very difficult. Not only that but we also have families dispersed throughout the country that we’re being asked to interact with digitally to avoid unnecessary travel.
With that, we’ve learned how valuable digital communication can be. FaceTime, Skype, and other video services are how many people are communicating with loved ones. And you can use social media to build community and share information with one another while observing social distancing. Text messages make it simple to share precious moments, fulfill our need for social interactions and help us feel sane during the pandemic.
Digital communication channels are helping personal trainers and gyms broadcast fitness classes to help lift the spirits and minds of others. Although many Planet Fitness gyms are closed in light of the virus, they are offering free fitness class streaming from their Facebook page. The service is available for both members and non-members to enjoy and stay fit while at home.
Other fitness organizations are offering their classes for a limited time as well to help keep people motivated and feeling good.
We’re learning how to care for one another
One of the hardest parts about the virus is that it’s something you can’t see, and for the majority of the population, it’s not a huge threat. But for those who have weakened immune systems or existing medical conditions, it poses a very large and very real threat.
The health of one person can affect the health of another. The decision to stay home and observe social distancing can legitimately save lives, and people are willingly making that decision and that sacrifice to protect others.
Each day, people are choosing to put others above themselves. If that doesn’t make you feel good and shine a bright light during this time, we’re not sure what will.
Companies have shown their true care for their employees
Retailers, e-commerce companies and restaurants alike are all sending email messages about their efforts related to the coronavirus. If you haven’t gotten a message about the coronavirus yet, make sure your email is still operational.
These messages can show the care that employers have for their employees. As businesses close their doors to avoid having people congregate, their opportunity to earn money decreases, meaning they’re faced with cutbacks. And while it’s still the early days for coronavirus closures, many companies are choosing to still pay their employees while they are closed.
Taking steps like this shows that companies are there for more than just profits. It reminds us that at the helms of these companies are living, breathing human beings who are trying to do the same things we are: make it through the pandemic and care for one another in the process.
While it might not feel like the best of times right now, people are proving that there is still so much good in the world. We’ll continue to look for the bright spots throughout the coronavirus pandemic as a reminder of what’s at the heart of social distancing: protecting people.
Thank you to the nurses, the doctors, Governor Lamont for taking a lead and most of all – to all of the people who are listening to try to get this Coronavirus under control.
All the best to everyone,