Wash Your Hands (Even Though You Should Already Be Doing So Anyway), Practice Social Distancing And Stay At Home When Possible. Plus More!

Update at 5:20 p.m. on Monday, March 16: At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced that, due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus, all dine-in restaurants, bars, taverns, lounges, nightclubs, health clubs, gyms, arcades, theaters, billiard halls and music venues within Dallas city limits must close starting at 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

Gatherings of 50 or more people are also now banned in Dallas as a result of this mandate.

Takeout and delivery service at restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries will remain allowed, but dine-in service under this ban will be prohibited.

Read more details here.

Update at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 18: On Wednesday evening, Mayor Johnson’s state of disaster declaration was extended until April 29, meaning the above-mentioned prohibition is likely to remain in place throughout the city until that point. On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended similar measures statewide.

Restaurants are still allowed to process take-out and delivery orders in the meantime.

Original story follows.

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If you’re a regular Central Track reader, you’re used to us bringing you two lists a week — one detailing the best things to do each week from Monday through Thursday, and another highlighting the top things to do each weekend.

Now that COVID-19 (read: coronavirus) is dominating headlines, social media and, to some degree, our anxiety, it’s imperative we tell you to do just one thing this week:

Stay home.

And not just this week, either — likely more time than that, actually. Probably however long it takes for our society to figure out how to get a handle on this pandemic.

“It’s only affecting old people” is a widely spread misconception. While it’s true that people 60 and older are more susceptible to the virus, it poses a threat to all of us. People with autoimmune conditions and chronic illnesses are also at higher risk. So are the people working retail jobs that are still having to work as people clear out their wares.

You know who else is at increased risk? The medical professionals who are able to treat the virus. The U.S. has been incredibly glacial in its testing of COVID-19, putting the country at risk of being on a trajectory in line with other countries that have seen increased outbreaks in a short amount of time — namely Italy and Iran.

Frankly, this pandemic has shown just how poorly the U.S. was prepared for such a crisis. It is heavily suggested by many experts that we are only about a week behind Italy. If you are sick and (or) think you might be infected, follow the CDC’s list of steps to take if you’re showing symptoms.

The implications of taking preventative measures are wide and far, and we cannot let our medical system crumble by being selfish in a time when lives are at risk. Because we truly have no idea how many people in the U.S. have actually been infected to this point, it’s vital that we all take the steps necessary to prevent this from getting any worse.

That means staying home whenever possible.

If you still aren’t convinced of the magnitude of this pandemic, check out this excellent visual guide for “flattening the curve,” which refers to the importance of slowing the spread of the virus by social distancing. As that linked article notes: This is simply math, not prophecy; if we don’t actively work to flatten the curve, we could reach 100 million cases here in the States by May.

Small businesses, freelancers and service industry workers are particularly vulnerable in these times, and we understand that telling people to stay home is not the most popular suggestion at the moment. But it’s up to all of us to choose how we meet this moment.

Central Track is a very, very small business. Your fears are our fears. But in order to ease the blow this virus is already inflicting upon us, we believe it’s necessary to make short-term concessions in order to work toward long-term stability — and not vice versa.

Don’t wait for the governor of Texas to declare all bars and restaurants to be closed to dine-in patrons before you finally yield to not going out. (If you think this can’t happen, look no further than Illinois or Ohio.) Even if whatever it is you had planned to do in North Texas isn’t already cancelled due to the City of Dallas banning gatherings of 500 people or more, consider sitting it out.

Though it might seem impossible to not be worried about the uncertain future of well, everything, this doesn’t have to be an end-all-be-all. There are still ways to support your favorite coffee shop around around the corner, the dive-bar that feels like your second home or your favorite local band whose calendar just opened up.

A few suggestions:

  1. Buy a gift certificate from your favorite establishments. This will at least temporarily help ease the blow to your favorite small businesses.
  2. If you must seek some takeout (no judgment, we’re already almost out of our quarantine snacks too), support a local business doing curbside pickup. This will keep contact minimal and reduce the spread of germs while allowing for service industry workers to hopefully still make money during these trying times.
  3. Stream your favorite local musician’s songs, buy a track on their Bandcamp page or maybe order some of their merch.
  4. Donate to any of the many streaming performances by local artists that are popping up. Need a place to start? Double Wide and Disco, TX are putting together a locals-only streaming show to keep you entertained while also supporting local artists who are out of work now.
  5. Offer to run an errand for your elderly neighbor who might be at their most vulnerable and wasn’t able to make it to the store before it was cleared out.
  6. Hit up the freelance graphic designer you’ve been meaning to commission for a project you’re working on. This is collaborative work that can easily be done remotely!
  7. Remember that we’re all in this together. Put society’s needs over your own.

The sooner we commit to these ideas, the sooner we’ll be out of this mess. Putting them off will only make these hardships last longer.

Stay home. And, yes, wash your damn hands.

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