Adjusting to a new Seattle at a standstill

Two months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Washington State, disrupting work schedules, closing everything but non-essential businesses, and making pajamas the official work outfit at home.

How do people adjust to our world and still stand still? Even if Washington steps into Governor Jay Inslee’s four-phase approach to reopening, the world will still feel just as closed to some as it did in March when the shutdown first occurred.

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Jaime Denise, a wedding photographer, said in a Facebook post that she lost over 50% of her income when the shutdowns happened because photography is not an essential business.

“The kicker is that I bought a house two weeks before the closure,” she said. “It was a huge nightmare for wedding salespeople doing this as a full-time job.”

Denise said she has also lost a significant portion of her income in the coming months as very few of her clients postponed photo sessions with her despite Phase 2 of Inslee’s reopening plan, including photography companies.

But it’s not just the impact on Denise’s business that has hit her hard. “As terrible as it was, it was harder to watch the couples who had been planning this for years to creep or give up on their dream day.”

There’s no part of this situation that isn’t heartbreaking, she said.

Allison Joelle is one of those people who had to put their big day on hold because of the pandemic. “My rush and wait was trying to reschedule a wedding several times,” she said.

Joelle is also a medical social worker at Pullman Regional Hospital, working to keep patients safe.

“I am rushing to take care of patients and plan a wedding while I wait to see how this pandemic develops in our city and in our hospital,” she said. “And waiting to be a bride.”

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Ally Lang, an early childhood teacher, is also frustrated with the impact of her pandemic. Lang is considered an indispensable worker, but because of the pandemic, her company is on leave other than the few employees that are needed.

“We don’t know when parents will want to take their children back into our care,” she said. “I’m on call now and have to check my phone at 7 or 8 am. Most of the time I’m not needed.”

Most of the time, Lang said, she missed seeing her children every day. “I don’t know about my families or children and as a teacher it makes me so sad,” said Lang.

However, there are some people like Eric Holt who said for him life hasn’t changed much.

Holt lives in a rural area and works in the wood industry. So he said: “Apart from the fact that he can’t go to bars and restaurants, nothing has changed.”

RuthAnn Henshaw said she and her husband, both retired, along with their son, all stayed home during this pandemic and made an effort to practice better meal planning.

“No excuses, especially at first since we hadn’t figured out how to order online,” she said.

They have also started delivering their groceries to them, Henshaw said, with a goal of doing more activities together as a family.

But when things feel overwhelming, try to escape, even if it’s only for a few moments. “We all go through periods of depression and viciousness,” she said. “Then we’ll go to nowhere and back.”

Marilyn Wigen said she observed that retired people seem to handle home stay orders better than others of different age groups.

“Possibly because we grew up in a slower world,” she said. “Or maybe because we are of retirement age and stay home more often anyway.”

Erika Rattray said the closure could mean the end of her business as a restaurant owner in a small town. “I think this could be the end of us,” she said. “We make $ 100 to $ 250 a day in revenue.”

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Rattray said after her paycheck protection program was up and running she wasn’t sure what she was going to do.

Bruce Honda, who works as a process control consultant at Weyerhaeuser, said the biggest change for him is not being on airplanes to travel to work.

“We installed remote functions back in 2008 that enabled us to remotely support our production processes as well as possible in order to reduce travel costs,” he said.

While remote working hasn’t changed Honda’s life too drastically, he hopes to be back on the air soon and doing his normal work routine.

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