Since last summer, I spent most of my evenings and weekends as an independent contractor in the gig economy. It was my side job. I shopped or delivered groceries to households and small businesses for Amazon Flex, Shipt, and Instacart. I occasionally drove Uber passengers. The majority of people tipped me and I lived happily.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. By that point, I had stopped driving people and cautiously continued shopping and delivering.
After witnessing a young child with a coughing fit in a Target store, I hard stopped my lifestyle and income dependency on March 22.
With the exception of two drugstore pickups and a post office transaction, I haven’t entered a store in nearly three weeks.
My apartment is nevertheless well-stocked with food and supplies. In recent days, I’ve received shipments from Amazon, Staples, and a bookstore. When delivery is not an option, or if I don’t want to wait days for it arrive (if a delivery window is even available), I order curbside pickup. I order items in advance, pay for it online or by phone, drive up to the physical location, alert someone that I am there, and my bags are brought to my trunk. I don’t have to leave my car. On the rare occasion, I pick up the bags from a sidewalk rack.
I don’t understand people who consciously enter stores. When friends tell me they are going shopping, I ask them if they need or want the items. The response is usually a want. Why are they putting their and everyone else’s lives at risk?
See, I assume that I’m asymptomatic. It grounds me and forces me to be aware of my surroundings. It forces me to be concerned for my friends, that their actions could infect others or lead to self-infection.
“Between 25% and 50% of people who get the coronavirus may show no symptoms but still be contagious,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on April 5. He is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Some might describe my extreme concern for others — don’t do this, don’t do that — as caution. It’s not. I’m a realist. Always have been. The more we can do as individual members of society to help each other by staying out of stores, keeping 6 feet apart, proper hygiene, wearing masks, has a direct correlation to practicing vigilance.
On the latter, I perused a list of masks made in America and ordered some a few days ago. One order is en route. Last week, I received some extra-large bandanas. I wouldn’t enter stores unless an emergency, but I’ll wear the face coverings to take walks in busy areas or when going to pop-up events.