Out of Action

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“There is nothing like everything being out of control to help us remember we were never in control to start with.”  Shelley Giglio

Three million-and more people filed claims for unemployment the week after the lockdown when the virus pandemic closed down big parts of the country’s economy. Experts are saying “catastrophic unemployment crisis” after the Labor Department announced jobless claims rose to 3.28 million from 281,000 the week before. It is the highest ever reported, smashing the previous record of 695,000 claims filed the week ending the first week of October 1982.

That is almost forty years ago. That is a hell of a jump in numbers. The full scale of the impact of the crisis started to come clear.

“This morning’s jobless claims confirm that the United States is in the thralls of a catastrophic unemployment crisis, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression,” said Andrew Stettner of the Century Foundation. “This represents the single worst one-day piece of labor market news in America’s history.”

Our Governor Mike DeWine announced that all movie theaters, bowling alleys, spas, fitness centers, tattoo parlors, and nearly all Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices have to close in response to the virus outbreak. He also asked that businesses start to check the temperatures of people who still have to report to work.

“The virus is here,” DeWine said. “It lives among us and we must be at war with it.”

I think I know where the war might have come from, although nobody wants to talk about it. I think Dr. Anthony Fauci is blocking cures to enrich vaccine makers and Bill Gates wants to use a vaccine to inject microchips into people or try to cull some of the world’s population.

All bars and restaurants are closed. All K-12 public and private schools were ordered to close. All hair salons had to close, too. Just like that I was out of work. Just like that all of us at the salon were out of work. Just like that everybody like me up and down the state was out of work.

A cross-section of businesses was allowed to stay open. The list included grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, health care facilities, gas stations, and hardware stores. We all have to eat. It also included liquor stores.

Jessica Miller, co-owner of Roots Hair Salon in Greenville, wondered what a shutdown would do to her four stylists. She and her partner, Cassie Bunger, talked about whether they would be able to get unemployment.

“It’s nerve-wracking, especially if we find we won’t be able to pay our bills and can’t pay for the shop,” Jessica said.

“My best wishes to the employees,” said Diana Fyfe, who gets her hair cut at Charles Scott just up the street from our salon. “This is definitely changing the world. I hope you all will be fine and able to pay your bills, feed your family, and stay healthy.”

Nothing works unless we do. Working is what gets it done, paying the bills and putting food on the table. Without work, life starts going downhill.

“It’s a difficult time and the various service industries are getting hit hard, but we will get through this and take it one day at a time, ” said Jennifer Bodnar of Nailchick71 Salon & Boutique, in Youngstown. “Our number one priority has and always will be the safety of our customers, so we will be here once this is all over to make our clients look and feel beautiful.”

At Jen and Friends in Boardman, Karin Bernard, a stylist, was finishing up a client when she heard the news.  “Of course, all of us here in the salon are devastated, but we will comply with the Governor’s mandate, and we know our clients are loyal and will return.  We just pray that our customers, who are more like family, stay safe and healthy, and we pray for everyone here and across the world.”

It’s gotten to be a mess all over the world, especially in Spain and Italy. All the Indians, all the 1.3 billion of them in India, except for the police and army and medical and absolutely essential workers, were ordered to stay at home, not set foot outside, for 21 days.

What happens when they run out of food?

The Mexicans told the Mexicans to stay home. I don’t know how that’s going to work. “I can’t stop,” a guy by the name of Leonardo Prado said standing next to his hamburger cart in Mexico City.

“If I don’t sell, I don’t eat. It’s as simple as that.”

The virus sweeps into Detroit. The virus sweeps through Louisiana after Mardi Gras. The virus sweeps into Florida as people with second homes try to get out of whatever city they are living in. The virus spreads everywhere where people go.

The virus spreads behind bars, jails and prisons

Roughly three out of four Americans are under orders to stay home. If they aren’t there now, they will be soon. President Trump says so. He said the day before the end of last month that everybody had to chill until about the end of May.

He said he was extending his administration’s social-distancing guidelines for another thirty days, after saying for days that he was going to open up the country in the next couple of weeks, by Easter, no later. Before that, before the virus got here, he said it was no problem, Americans didn’t have to worry about it.

Something isn’t right in the White House

I went to Lakewood park, found a parking spot, and went for a sanity walk. I got some fresh air and got in four miles.

Everybody is letting their hair down until we open up again.

“I will definitely have some roots,” said Jacquelyn Fabiszewski.

“Hang in there Julie,” said Chris Pate. “I’m glad I got to see you before things shut down. I’ll be back to see you. Stay safe!”

“See you when lockdown is over,” said Rhonda Dearfield.

“Stay safe Julie,” said Beth Strohm. “I will see you when this is all over.”

It might be a while, which means some of my clients might start getting desperate. All I can say is do not under any circumstances go a pet store and get a cut from a dog groomer. They do great with dogs, but it just wouldn’t be worth it.

There’s nowhere to go to show off your new do, anyway.

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Ed Staskus is a freelance writer from Sudbury, Ontario, and lives in Lakewood, Ohio. Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction.

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