Engaging in a time of social distance

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I feel awful. And I know a lot of people feel that way.

I’m watching — from a distance — as the industry I love, have worked in and have supported as a sort of de facto ambassador writing and promoting these many local restaurants and food businesses, is slowly in decline.

It’s very sad, and I know I don’t have to tell you that. I don’t know what the outcome will be; I guess none of us knows.

The restaurants and food businesses that we love are struggling to find ways to stay afloat, make ends meet and have some sort of infrastructure and a few bucks left for starting up their businesses anew when we come out of this.

Of course, no one has any idea when that will be.

Many, many people are doing their utmost to support the industry: keep doing that! They really need us to keep doing that.

What will the industry look like later?
No one has any idea what the industry will look like in Waterloo Region and the surrounding area once this is over. I do know that it will likely look very different than it did in February, just several weeks ago. The change has been overnight — and cataclysmic.

I feel helpless. Like I know you do. I feel like I’m on a tightrope: I’m having deliveries of food made when I can and trying to buy from my usual purveyors and restaurants, when that is possible, in order to get them a bit of revenue.

But at the same time I recognize the critical — and absolutely urgent — need to simultaneously disengage and yet aggressively engage in social distance and keep away from others, or at least two metres. (I fear that is going to change for the worse too.)

It’s a disheartening oxymoron: engage in social distance. It’s our new reality, until normal returns.

So, feeling helpless, what to do? I thought I would engage with members of our local industry, via the telephone, in this casual series of interviews to find out how they are doing, what they are doing and what state their businesses are in.

A moment of connect, a moment of diversion
There will be no solutions here, but I think it’s important that we keep these members of our community in the forefront as much as we can, given our own concerns with our own health and that of our families and our own businesses and general well-being.

I hope that there might be moments of brief distraction, a few minutes’ diversion, in the comments from the industry and some insights that we might find comforting — and ultimately, human.

If the following trite phrase and cliché has ever had any meaning, it is surely now: We are all in this together.

Look for this series to be posted, in my usual desultory way, whenever I can engage with the individuals when their time, patience and spirit permits.

[Image/Guilhem Vellut via Wikimedia Commons]

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