Across the United States, Americans are pursuing creative ways to continue their lives while keeping their distance.
To avoid spreading the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people avoid crowds and stay 2 meters apart from others, a practice dubbed social distancing.
Here’s a look how Americans are changing their routines to help each other stay healthy.
National stores including Stop & Shop, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods are opening early or dedicating specific times for the elderly, who are at higher risk from the disease.
“These hours are to help our more vulnerable customers shop in a less crowded environment,” Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop, said March 18.
Where possible Americans are working from home. Nearly a quarter of U.S. workers already worked some hours from home before the new emphasis on social distancing, and companies are building on that foundation.
With so many Americans online, the government and private sector have pledged to do their part. Some 390 broadband and phone service companies have agreed for the next two months not to cancel any services for customers who cannot pay and to waive all late fees and open their Wi-Fi hot spots to anyone who needs them.
Students from elementary school through university are logging onto class.
Many states have closed public schools, and more than 300 colleges and universities have shut their doors. But thanks to online learning platforms and support for remote learning devices, classes are continuing in many places.
To help keep people physically separated, more than 40 states have required restaurants to limit their service to carryout and delivery.
Some restaurants, such as Sweetgreen and Roaming Rooster, are finding more ways to help, offering free meals to hospital and medical employees. “None of us gets to choose the challenges we face each day, but we do get to choose how we respond: this is our response,” national pizza chain &Pizza said in a tweet announcing free pizza to hospital workers.
Churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of faith are offering religious services online.
“On livestreams or in a church building, all that matters is to worship God in spirit and truth,” National Cathedral’s Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told the Episcopal News Service. The cathedral suspended in-person services for at least two weeks, the longest break in the church’s 108-year history not related to construction.
“While we are being physically distant, let’s all make an extra effort to be there for one another over phone, email and/or video,” Rabbi Larry Sebert and Cantor Shayna Postman of the Town and Village Synagogue in New York said online.
Museums around the country are posting art from their collections on social media and encouraging people to visit the #museumfromhome.
And even though music festivals such as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and theaters are cancelling live shows, performances continue online. Musicians are streaming their concerts. The Metropolitan Opera airs nightly showings of past performances.
“We are at war with an invisible enemy,” President Trump said on Twitter, “but that enemy is no match for the spirit and resolve of the American people.”