COVID19 – We are all in this together. No we are not!
We are all in this together – No we are not!
The pandemic, known as COVID19 has gripped our world, closing businesses, shutting down ports and travel and isolating the population of the world.
I watched the news, as this unprecedented virus swept from China to Europe and wondered why there was no restrictions on travel, airports were open, as were shops and restaurants and everyone was going about their business as nothing was happening. I shared my fears and concerns with some of my friends and family, who told me not to be silly, Ireland could not catch such a thing.
On the 18th March, I took the decision to close my restaurant and I went into self-isolation for two weeks, or so I thought. My staff were all advised to seek COVID19 assistance from the state and I myself did the same as now I had no income.
For me, I was and am so grateful for this help, it was and is a life saver.
People assume because you own a restaurant, that you are loaded. Well that is not the case, sometimes as Restaurant owners, we win, sometimes we lose, but in general we make a good living, and there is always a risk.
I keep hearing the slogan “We are all in this together”, there is even a hash tag #weareallinthistogether. The truth and reality is, we are NOT all in this together.
Let us talk about people, yes, every person is affected by this virus, we no longer can hug those we love whom do not live in the same household, we no longer shake hands with our colleagues, we must avoid contact with other human beings by remaining two meters away from each-other, we must remain at home, isolated from those we love and care for and a host of other physical restrictions that might suggest we are all in this together. But we are not.
There are those of us who have lost family and friends to COVID19, unable to have funerals to help grieve the passing of their loved ones. There are those of us who are struggling with mental health issues, loneliness, stress and depression because of COVID19, some of us are in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear and there are those who are emotionally unaffected by everything that is happening. So we are NOT all in this together.
Lets talk about money, not every person is unemployed, not every person must beg their banks and mortgage providers for moratoriums, not every person needs to engage with credit card providers who refuse to freeze interest or late payment fees or offer any support whatsoever during this time, some of us need to beg our landlords for relief. On the other hand, some people are earning more money now than ever before. So we are not all in this together.
As we talk about business, not all businesses are closed, some that are open are booming and some are just surviving. For those that are closed, some will recover reasonably well when they reopen, whilst others, such as those associated with the hospitality industry or reliant on foreign travellers coming to Ireland, may never recover at all. We are most certainly not all in this together.
The Front Line personnel, the medical professionals who have put their lives on the line for us, the supermarket workers who have assisted in keeping us fed, the transport and logistics workers who have made sure we got to where we needed to be or made sure our supermarkets were stocked with food, the politicians who have worked hard to ensure our country remained safe and upbeat. As well as all this essential personnel that I have not mentioned here. I believe all these people deserve a special award or a medal of honour. I wish I could do something of significance for these people who braved the storm for us. We who are isolating or cocooning in the safety of our homes are not in the same position as these wonderful people. So we are not all in this together.
We may all be in the same sea, and indeed in the same storm, but we are far from all being in the same boat.