My dad always tells me that God created time so everything can’t happen all at once. No matter what you believe, I try to cling to that in times of struggle. But I tell you what, I see a lot of people struggling already, trying to stay afloat as we wade through the murkiness that is COVID-19.
I also see the beauty in it, and the unity that’s happening on a hyper-local level that reminds me to just keep swimming (someone else famous once said that).
So that’s what we’re going to do, and we’re going to keep you informed to the best of our ability with what you need to know while also adding some good news into the mix for good measure. So first up, let’s talk about the coronavirus (and if you must skip ahead, we recommend heading straight to the “You said it” portion where we share what YOU said we should do to help each other out).
🆘 President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency on Friday. This means that more money (in the billions) and resources will be freed up from Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to help combat the coronavirus. Wanna know more about the ins and outs of a national emergency versus a public health emergency, so on and so forth? Head here.
🎒 State officials announced Friday that all Florida public schools will be closed through March 30 due to the coronavirus. Seminole County public schools have said that they will offer free breakfasts and lunches to its students between March 23 and 27 and Orange County public schools are working on a plan to do the same.
💡 Over the weekend, Duke Energy and OUC announced that they would not be suspending electrical or water service for nonpayment due to the fallout from coronavirus.
🎟️ SeaWorld is closing its doors today, at least through the end of the month, joining other theme park giants Disney and Universal who closed yesterday. SeaWorld plans to pay its full-time employees during this unknown time we’re experiencing.
✅ Other helpful links:
In other news…
Practicing “social distancing” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it could be a good time to put your skills in the kitchen to work and maybe make your own gourmet cheese board for a date night at home. So you’re still supporting local businesses — shoutout to ODNG’s recs of Stasio’s Italian Deli, Orlando Meats, The Ancient Olive and more. (Orlando Date Night Guide)
And if making gourmet cheese boards isn’t your thing, this roundup of local restaurants serving up the best comfort foods will do the trick. Pom Pom’s, Se7en Bites, SoCo… this is 100% our love language. Get it to go and be sure to tip the wait staff. (Bungalower)
Bungalower also put together a roundup of things you can do without having to see a lot of people. It includes virtual tours, baking cookies for your neighbors, streaming Broadway shows, reading books, and recommendations for getting outdoors, including hikes and hot fishing spots. (Bungalower)
There’s a local pig who wants to be the next Cadbury Bunny and honestly, it’s just what we needed to see right now. The pig is named Duck and is living (read: thriving) in Daytona Beach with its owner June who entered her in Cadbuy’s contest of finding a new “spokesbunny”. Duck is currently in the top 10 and voting goes through Wednesday. (Orlando Weekly)
On Friday, we shared a popular tweet that’s circulating from Larken Egleston that said, “Love the idea of buying gift cards from restaurants now for use later to help them maintain during coronavirus. Other ideas: tip 20% on take-out/delivery as if sitting down to eat, download songs of bands who canceled shows, donate to charities who canceled fundraisers. What else?”
And then we asked our Instagram followers, “no really, what else?”
The answers are just a few examples of why if we were going to be anywhere else in the world during this crazy time, we’re thankful that it’s here with you.
🏨 Book a future hotel stay to help the hotels from having to lay off hourly employees. — @friendlilypress
🙏 Donate to charities that will need to feed children whose schools have been closed. — @ahappyhaunt
🛍️ Buy online from vendors who have had events canceled but have online shops. — @b.joyce76
🎟️ If you have tickets to an art/music show that gets canceled, don’t ask for a refund. — @debi_tribit
🎭 Get a membership at your local arts organizations. — @orlandomuseumofart
💉 Donate blood. — @kevcomedia
🧠 Remember mental health. Book online appointments with your therapist if you can’t get to an office. — @lovemindylee
What about you? What ideas do you have to keep our local businesses sustained? Drop ’em in the comments here or reply to this email with a subject line of I want to help and we’ll share them in a newsletter later this week.
Let’s keep the good news going, shall we? This story on Reddit about a recent encounter at the Publix on Dean and University will get you all in the feels.
And again, don’t forget to:
See y’all on Wednesday!