Coronavirus Shutdown, US Recession, Coronavirus And The Workplace, Staying Calm During The Pandemic
KPBS Midday Edition / March 17, 2020
Speaker 1: 00:00 We run down the list of new mandates from the city and County and predictions on Corona virus and recession. I'm wearing Kavanaugh. I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS mid day edition. It's Tuesday, March 17th new public health orders to slow the spread of the Corona virus through the San Diego region are now in effect. Yesterday the city and County ordered the closure of bars and prohibited dining and restaurants. Gatherings are also restricted. County supervisor Nathan Fletcher says San Diego will be much more strict about gatherings than the state standard of discouraging groups of 250 people or more.
Speaker 2: 00:49 All public or private gatherings of 50 or more people are now prohibited.
Speaker 3: 00:55 All right.
Speaker 2: 00:55 Non-essential gatherings of any size are strongly discouraged. So although we are moving the order from two 50 to 50 we are strongly discouraged.
Speaker 1: 01:05 Any gatherings, the new restrictions come as the county's coronavirus cases climb to 55 joining us now is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, welcome. Hey Jay, these County guidelines go one step further than state guidelines released over the weekend. Walk us through some of the major changes here.
Speaker 3: 01:24 Right? So, I guess the first major change we're talking about is they issued a public health order that all gatherings of 50 or more people is prohibited in throughout the entire County. Coming off of that too, they're also recommending the gatherings of any size, like, so I know what the president's had 10 people, we're talking five people, six people, they should all be banned. That's a just an ask though. That's not a mandate. So 50 or more. Um, and then all bars, uh, wineries, breweries that just serve alcohol must close. That was another mandate from them. And then in terms of restaurants and bars that serve food, they're still allowed to serve food but no longer do dine in service. So they're taken away that dine and service, uh, to help stop the spread of the Corona virus. And they're still allowing restaurants and bars that serve food to do delivery or drive through are some sort of pickup service. And then I guess another one that the governor obviously set over the weekend, but um, they also reinforcing that everyone 65 and older and the counties should stay at home and not contract. Try to go out there and possibly contract this virus.
Speaker 1: 02:20 Now, you know, how are our small businesses and even the restaurant industry reacting to these new rules?
Speaker 3: 02:26 I think a lot of them are kind of shocked, but I think a lot of them understand that this is a public health need and they're willing to comply. Um, but yeah, talking about response to the California restaurant association, they kind of put out a letter to their members saying that they, their CEO says they, he has never seen anything like what we are seeing now in terms of economic impact. Um, remember a lot of these restaurants, you know, their margins are pretty thin, they say, and um, we've talked a couple that say, yeah, you know, we could probably, you know, close for two to three weeks and be okay or maybe the end of March. But after that it gets into really Rocky territory. And
Speaker 1: 02:54 wow. Has the County given indie any indication of how long these will need to be shut down for?
Speaker 3: 03:00 Well, we know that this order is through at least the end of March and they're going to be looking to review that I guess on a month to month basis here. So I'm at the end of March. We might have more news, like maybe if we see that you know, curve, they talk about going down. Um, we might see an increase in cases now, but that should go down at these social distancing strategies are working. Um, so the review that at the end of March and who knows, maybe they'll reopen them up fully, but we really don't know at this point. It's sort of unclear
Speaker 1: 03:23 what was the explanation the County gave for taking these additional measures. And don't they go against some of the guidelines the CDC released yesterday recommending no gatherings with 10 or more people?
Speaker 3: 03:33 Well, what we have to remember too is that I think County health officials I've talked about walking this balance of not causing a huge panic and being responsible. Are these orders enforceable? They are enforceable. They are legally enforceable orders. I know that yesterday, at least in the city of San Diego, SDPD was going around to bars and restaurants, letting them know what's up, saying, Hey, you guys gotta close at midnight or stop your dining services by midnight shut or shut your doors completely. If they're a bar that doesn't serve food. And I believe for the County, I guess it would be the Sheriff's department cause they are the legal arm of the County. So it is a legally enforceable order. Although County officials are saying that they hope that everybody just kind of, uh, you know, respects this order. We do know that SDPD um, after going around today, they're going to be taking calls on a complaint basis and going out there. So if you see a restaurant and you call SDPD, they'll go out and check it out and maybe forced that person to close.
Speaker 1: 04:21 You know, the County made another announcement yesterday. It's making motel rooms available. Uh, who would those motel rooms apply to?
Speaker 3: 04:28 Right. So they have 227 motel rooms that they have acquired. Now, these are for people who PUIs persons that are investigation people who might have the virus, but it's also for like the homeless population and seniors, some of the more vulnerable populations. We know that some people are staying in those hotel rooms. They do want to eventually get up to 2000 a hotel, motel rooms throughout the County.
Speaker 1: 04:50 [inaudible] bear. Now 55 confirmed cases of Corona virus in San Diego County. Did the County give any updates as far as testing goes and are they increasing the capacity to test more individually?
Speaker 3: 05:00 Right. We did find out from the County that the County lab has a capacity for about 120 tests per day. So that's not a whole lot of testing. Uh, we know that, um, there was a hospital there, they say that they can do about 80 tests a day. Obviously private institutions now have capacity to test. Um, what they reiterated was only those who need medical care will be the people who get tested. So, um, I think when just for when, when people see these, you know, 55 cases, 39 cases, um, do you have to take that with a grain of salt because basically the County is only testing people who need medical care. So what they're saying is like if you were me, Jade had symptoms like my moderate to low symptoms, they would just say stay in your home quarantine for two weeks or so or until these conditions pass. So we would never get tested. We would never fall under the official count. So it's safe to say that even though there's 55 confirmed cases, there's more cases out there that we don't know about,
Speaker 1: 05:49 you know, the County will be giving daily briefings at 2:00 PM. Any sense of what we can expect later today
Speaker 3: 05:54 at that news conference yesterday they talked a lot more of these restrictions that might be coming in in the coming days. Dr Wilma Wooten said in that news conference that we could be seeing sooner rather than later an entire Countrywide shutdown. We might see the governor of California say statewide shutdown or the County talked about using all the tools in their public health toolbox, which includes potentially like you see up in San Francisco countywide shelter in place. So they're really looking at all their options and like I said, they're really trying to balance that, you know, not causing panic and kind of ramping up these restrictions. So we might see more restrictions coming out today even
Speaker 4: 06:27 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, thank you very much. Thanks Jade. It's not just possible, it's happening. Economist at UCLA is Anderson school of management, say the U S economy is already in a recession in an unprecedented step. Anderson revised a forecast and issued just last week to reflect the profound impacts Corona virus restrictions have had on the economy. And the updated forecast predicts the recession lasting at least until the end of September. John to me is Jerry Nichols Burke, he's director of the UCLA Anderson forecast and Jerry, welcome to the program.
Speaker 5: 07:14 Good afternoon.
Speaker 4: 07:16 So what made the economist said Anderson revise their forecast so quickly?
Speaker 5: 07:21 The forecast that we released a week ago was a forecast that was actually done several weeks ago. We put together our forecast and it's the, you know, rather complicated process of doing a national and state forecast and making sure that we think we have it right. But events over the last a week and a half or so, it moves quite fast. And we've seen a shutdown of restaurants, a shutdown of retail establishment, uh, cancellations, massive cancellations of uh, tourism and transportation on aircraft and the um, uh, transportation across the Pacific and across the Atlantic, uh, all is impacting tourism. So in light of this, these fast moving events, we felt it important that we incorporate those into a new forecast. And well, when we did, it was pretty clear to us that we've already answered a recession and this is going to last for a while.
Speaker 4: 08:28 How deeper recession do you say we're in now and how deep will it get?
Speaker 5: 08:33 It is important to realize that any forecast of a recession right now is going to depend on the course of this pandemic. So we had to make an assumption and our assumption was in part based on what's happened in South Korea and in China, that the pandemic will have run its course by early summer and then we will begin to, uh, get back to normal, although that will take some time. That gives us a recession that lasts through the third quarter of this year. The third quarter is, uh, is July, August, September, and the second quarter, the one we're about to enter with the beginning of April, we're expecting national GDP to decline by 6.8%, followed by a further decline in the third quarter of 1.9%.
Speaker 4: 09:27 How high do you predict the unemployment rate will get?
Speaker 5: 09:30 So we're looking at, you know, kind of importantly for California California's unemployment rate to get up to 6.6% for the U S uh, approximately 2 million jobs will be lost in this recession. And our forecast for California is that we'll have a higher than average job loss of about 300,000 jobs lost in the state, pushing us up to that aforementioned 6.6%.
Speaker 4: 09:56 Why is California particularly vulnerable to this Corona virus downturn?
Speaker 5: 10:02 The reason why California is more vulnerable is that California is, uh, blessed to be a state that people want to come and visit. So we have a larger than average, uh, leisure and hospitality industry that includes, uh, tourism. So that's, uh, restaurants and entertainment and, and hotels. Uh, then the U S on average and tourism has just collapsed [inaudible] as well. Other aspects of leisure and hospitality. Also, California is the port of entry or manufactured goods coming out of Asia, and that's ground to a halt. So our transportation and logistics industry is hit harder as well.
Speaker 4: 10:47 President Trump has just proposed an $850 billion stimulus package, which includes sending checks directly to most Americans. Here's treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin,
Speaker 6: 10:59 the payroll tax holiday. We'd get people money over the next six to eight months. We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately. And what we've heard from hardworking Americans, many companies have now shut down, whether it's bars or restaurants. Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now and I mean now in the next few weeks, uh, I will be previewing that with the Republicans. There's some numbers out there. They may be a little bit bigger than what's in the process.
Speaker 4: 11:27 So what's your reaction to that plan?
Speaker 5: 11:29 The, uh, sending a check to individuals that may will be a very good thing. Uh, it happened in 2,800 president Bush. And the best evidence suggests that in 2008, at the end of that time, uh, only a third of that went into, uh, into demand for goods and services and the other two thirds was safe. That might be good. That might be bad, but I think, you know, more, uh, analysis needs to happen and hopefully it is happening right now in Washington.
Speaker 1: 12:04 What else could the federal government do to stimulate the economy?
Speaker 5: 12:09 You know, so this is, is a very good question. Uh, if we think about, uh, let's say the seven County Bay area that is on three week, um, uh, a shelter in place, orders, I guess you would call them. Uh, you know, how, how would you stimulate that economy during the three weeks? I think that's an open question. We have not had in recent times a pandemic induced recession. And so there's much that we don't know and then we don't have data on. Uh, and, and you know, is it possible with macro economic policy to stimulate the recession or you know, as uh, was kind of indicated in the clips that you just played. Is it a matter of, uh, helping people get true it? Uh, but not much in the way of stimulus. A lot of open questions that we can't answer at this point in time because we just don't have the data.
Speaker 1: 13:11 I've been speaking with Jerry Nichols Berg, he's director of the UCLA Anderson forecast. Jerry, thank you very much.
Speaker 5: 13:18 You're welcome.
Speaker 1: 13:20 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm Jade Hindman in a matter of days, life as we know it changed to drastically. Some of us may be working from home, others may be out of work. Schools had been shut down and children are at home. Social events have been canceled. Libraries, arts institutions and many restaurants have shut their doors. The stress of all these changes and worries over the Corona virus can take a toll on our mental health. David Peters, a marriage and family therapist who has a practice in San Diego as advice on how to stay calm during these uncertain times. David, welcome. Glad to be with you Jade and your appointments with your existing clients. Have they brought up concerns over Corona virus?
Speaker 7: 14:03 They do. Uh, some their own lives have such urgent turmoil that we try and stay focused there, but others they find, they'll laugh and say, you know, if I come for this issue, but what's going on out there in the world is so much worse right now. I feel like I'm being silly even having a complaint and we have to manage that. But a lot of people they do need counsel, you know, if they're already depressed, are already suffering anxiety or anger management issues. Everything enters a new context and we try and make it relevant to today's issues on uh, you know, self care and self calm.
Speaker 1: 14:41 What are some tips you give your clients who are experiencing distress over concerns about coronavirus?
Speaker 7: 14:47 I like to tell them first turn off the television the most part, unless you're watching something joyful and pleasant and interesting. Uh, because frequently people want to know what's going on and they're watching cable news or the network news, which frequently has very inflammatory video and audio things that increase our stress. And if you're already stressed, that's the last thing you need. And so I like to turn the volume down while I get the data that I need. And then I say to people, you know, if you get your news twice a day, you've got it. Don't keep watching. Don't keep looking for the next threat. It's time to get outside. We have beautiful weather. Get out and get some exercise. You know, exercise is essential. If everybody stays inside watching TV, their stress level increases and their body doesn't get to discharge that energy.
Speaker 7: 15:39 So we need to get out, go for a walk, go for a bicycle ride. If you have a swimming pool, get in that pool, go swimming. It's got chlorine in it. You're safe. You know? Um, there's places you can drive to in San Diego that are gorgeous. You can walk along the beach, you can hike up Kyle's mountain, you can take a walk up in the Lagunas. All of these are places where you're most safe because you're away from indoor features. I like to say, put on beautiful music. Put on music that makes you feel good. Are you doing art? You know, can you do art that's a very good outlet for people or just read a book that you enjoy. For some clients, I teach them meditation techniques. If they're having trouble with anxiety, uh, and ruminating. Um, I teach them how to meditate and get them to practice that.
Speaker 7: 16:26 And uh, there are meditation AIDS available online. You can go to YouTube and find a meditation narrations and then sit with it. They'll instruct you on what to do, how to sit, how to breathe. And you could meditate for 10 minutes or 20 minutes or 30 minutes. And that's going to be really good. If you're already in an anxious state, remember to surround yourself with beauty. Surround yourself with people who love you, uh, by email or by Skype call or by phone. And you know, we can get through this if we take care of our heart and our souls, uh, as well as our bodies.
Speaker 1: 17:03 You know, uh, we have a woman, Kim from Carlsbad who had a question about talking to children, uh, about Corona virus. She asks, what should we tell our kids and how much should we tell them?
Speaker 7: 17:13 Excellent question. Because children are vulnerable and we are responsible for the children. I'd say if you have small children at home, children, anybody who is 10 years and younger, 11 years older and younger, they should not be watching any television news because it will scare them. And then of course, some of the school children, they're home from school. Why are we home from school? We want to tell them the truth. And the rule of thumb is tell children as much as they are old enough to comprehend. Don't try and tell a small child things that are too complicated and don't over-simplify it with kids who are capable of really good reasoning skills. Uh, so estimate how much can my child comprehend? It's a teaching moment. Our job is to teach them, teach them that they're being taken care of, teaching them how we can take care of ourselves, teaching them about viruses, teaching them about how to wash your hands.
Speaker 7: 18:08 And if our attitude is calm and warm and loving, kids will feel safe. If our attitude is anxiety ridden, angry, urgent, they're going to feel like, Oh wow, mom and dad are not in control. I'm not safe. So that's really, really important. And it's also a good time to teach our older children and our teenagers about teamwork. This is a time they can really pitch in with us to take care of business. You know, teenagers who are old enough to drive, maybe they're going to drive to the store and go get supplies that we need so we can stay home with the kids. Or maybe they're going to watch the kids while we take off to the store. Uh, this is about teenagers pitching in for the home to clean things up. Maybe we need to practice better hygiene at home. Maybe it's a time to scour the sinks and things like that.
Speaker 7: 18:57 A lot of kids need to be still educating themselves. They need to be doing what they can for their schoolwork. And then our leadership involves, okay, we need this many hours a day where you're going to do your school work. That's what's expected. Let's get to it. The young people need leadership and the older your kids can help us out and the teenagers certainly can help us out. But they also need leadership to know, Oh yeah, it's still my responsibility to take care of my schoolwork so that uh, I can prepare cause this isn't lasting forever. This is an urgent situation which will pass. And in the few seconds we have left, how can people help others who may be extremely worried? When you see a friend, a loved one, a next door neighbor who's really worried, I like to take a breath, flex my muscles and get myself relaxed and I say warmly, Hey, how you doing?
Speaker 7: 19:50 And they'll vent for a while about everything they see or hear or how bad it is. And I'll say it does look bad. Doesn't it? I'll say, is there anything I can do to help you? Anything I can do to help you feel better right now? Maybe they have a request, maybe they don't, and then I like to say, well, are you prepared? Ask them what they've done so far. Maybe they've over-prepared, you know, and then I can say, it looks like you've done everything you need. I note, I use that reassuring voice and I say, it looks like you're doing everything you need. I think you're going to be just fine. Let's you and I be good neighbors. Let's you and I be good family members and we'll look out for one another. But I think you're looking like you're taking care of yourself quite well.
Speaker 7: 20:31 Now maybe there's a neighbor who's not well prepared and they are just discovering that they're not well prepared. Well, maybe there's something I can share with them. Maybe there's a way I can help them be prepared, but when I help them, I have to be the calmest person in the room. I have to be the most loving voice I can find. Let's practice compassion. Take lung, so deep, slow, deep breaths and pull up a feeling of compassion in your heart and that's how you reach out to the out to the person who's near you, who's panicking or who is getting angry or very upset at this situation. The more I can show my care and concern and calm, the more they will feel it from me and they will self calm.
Speaker 4: 21:15 I've been speaking to marriage and family therapist, David Peters. David, thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 7: 21:19 It's good to be with you, Jade.
Speaker 4: 21:27 You can see it if you're still driving in the mornings around San Diego, there's a dramatic decrease in the number of cars on the road. Some businesses have shut down completely because of Corona virus restrictions, but many more are scrambling to stay in business and provide needed services by allowing employees to work from home and it's good to remember that employees and their employers still have rights and responsibilities even during a pandemic. Joining me is Dan Eaton, an employment law attorney and partner at seltzer Caplan McMahon and Vtech and Dan, welcome to the program. Thank you very much. Morning. Can individuals request to work from home if they're worried about getting Corona virus?
Speaker 8: 22:09 Well you can always ask. So let's start there. Uh, the question is whether you have some sort of a bright, uh, to work from home. And that really depends on when, whether there is a reasonable, whether you have a reasonable basis for believing that going into work subjects you to some sort of a health risk at this point that's not entirely clear, but you expect that the law of the workplace is going to be leavened with some common sense and ethics on the part of employers.
Speaker 4: 22:39 We've gotten a few questions from working seniors who governor Newsome advised to self isolate. Can they make the case that they should work at home?
Speaker 8: 22:49 They can make that a case because they're part of the vulnerable population. Uh, people who are 65 and older and those with our chronic health conditions. So the argument would be that because they're part of the vulnerable population, going into work may very well subject them to unique risks that require them to stay at home. Understand that a lot of this is being driven not so much by legal authorities but by public health authorities. And that is exactly as it should be, Maureen.
Speaker 4: 23:21 Now, if employers ask only their older workers or people with health conditions to stay home and do their work, isn't that some sort of discrimination, age discrimination or something like that?
Speaker 8: 23:32 Well, it sounds like age and disability discrimination, doesn't it? Except the issue here is that it's neither of those two things because they're not being asked to work from home because of their age or because of their disability. They're being asked to work from home because they pose a unique health risk and understand that under a California law, employers are required to quote furnish employment and a place of employment that is safe and healthful for the employees they're in. So a close quote. So that means that employers as part of their overall duty to maintain a safe workplace can require those that pose a unique risk to themselves and to others to stay at home and work.
Speaker 4: 24:16 So if working remotely actually makes it harder for someone to get their work done, can an employer still require an employee to work from home?
Speaker 8: 24:25 Yes. The fact is that an employment relationship carries with it a corresponding right of the employer to control the manner in which a job is done and if that job is harder as a result of staying home, that is part of the employers prerogative. Even understanding that the employer is going to have to accept, uh, presumably some loss of productivity as a result of that mandate.
Speaker 4: 24:51 Now, if a business is forced to close temporarily, like bars are being directed to do, can an employee of that business file for unemployment insurance?
Speaker 8: 25:02 The answer is almost certainly, yes. And here we have an issue here with uh, the, uh, federal authorities getting involved. There has been some action in Congress and there is a bill that's a president is expected to sign, uh, that does address things like unemployment, which is normally handled at the state level. But there is some, uh, potential reimbursement there. But the bottom line is if that, if people lose their job or, or suffer a temporary separation of employment, they certainly should look into applying for unemployment benefits. And in fact the state itself I understand is working on expanding the ability to get unemployment benefits for temporary work stoppages. But again, this is something that people have to pay very close attention to. What is a very rapidly moving situation both with respect to the law and with respect to public health.
Speaker 4: 25:54 Would that also apply for people who have their hours reduced because of the Corona virus closures?
Speaker 8: 26:00 The short answer is yes. The right to unemployment does sometimes kick in when there is a severe reduction in hours. But again, this is something that uh, the, uh, state EDD and uh, which is, uh, of course, uh, overseas, uh, the labor regulations and the division of industrial relations and so forth. They have very, very good information and people should go to their websites if they have specific information because again, this is rapidly evolving. We are in uncharted territory here. The law is going to do its best to keep up as it always does, but there are going to be some questions that you're going to have to rely on the regulators to answer as they with what is
Speaker 4: 26:44 a uniquely challenging situation. Well, here's another situation that is unique to what we're going through now. Does a workers sick leave kick in? Can you take sick leave if you are not sick but some for some reason you're forced into quarantine. The key word in that
Speaker 8: 27:01 question, Maureen, is can because it's left up to the employee as to whether they want to opt to take a sick leave for preventative purposes, which is what you're talking about there and sick leave does kick in there even if you're asymptomatic, but for the purposes of keeping yourself from getting a sick, yes, you can use sick leave for that
Speaker 4: 27:23 purpose. Now, most schools in the County have told parents to keep their kids at home. The schools are closed. What if a parent has to stay home because their child is at a school and they don't have alternate childcare? Are they protected from losing their job? A couple of things here. State law has a, a school emergency law which allows parents up to 40 hours a year, uh, for a school emergencies. And this certainly would qualify, but more to the point or the [inaudible]
Speaker 8: 27:53 legislation that Congress is working on explicitly addresses this situation where parents are required, uh, to leave, to take care of a child whose school has closed even if their child is not himself or herself sick and explicitly allows them job protected, paid sick leave, uh, to address that situation.
Speaker 4: 28:16 I don't know if you're going to know the answer to this, Dan or not, but, um, I thought I'd ask you as an employment law attorney, if the Corona virus keeps people indoors and slows down commerce, how long do you think it's going to take before we see workplaces going out of business and workers losing their jobs? How long can most businesses stand a shutdown like this?
Speaker 8: 28:36 Maureen, that is an excellent question. And the answer, candidly, without being too glib, is blowing in the wind because we don't know. And it depends on the nature of the workplace and the resources that they have. There are going to be some businesses for which this is an Essex general crisis that will present itself within the next few weeks. Others with greater resources or a vet or not as directly dependent on the movement of people and commerce will have a longer runway, but we just don't know. The fact is though that there are some businesses that are going to go out of business as a result of this. Even if this is over in the next few weeks and no one really expects that to happen, we have to pay attention and at some point we're going to have to come together as community to address the consequences of what is an unprecedented emergency.
Speaker 4: 29:29 I'm in speaking with Dan Eaton, an employment law attorney and of course partner itself. So captain McMahon and Vtech. Dan, thank you very much. Thank you, Maureen.
Speaker 9: 29:41 Uh,
Speaker 4: 29:42 there is at least one thing medical experts are sure about when it comes to the coven 19 virus. It's especially dangerous and possibly deadly for people over 65 and those with underlying health problems. So yesterday, California governor Gavin Newsome made this announcement.
Speaker 10: 29:59 We are calling for the home isolation of all seniors in the state of California and we are calling for the isolation home isolation of all of those 65 years and older and those with chronic conditions.
Speaker 4: 30:13 But there are also problems that come with isolation. Older residents may feel uneasy about getting groceries or prescriptions and may miss social engagements that are special in their lives. It's up to all of us to make sure our neighbors, family and friends are taken care of during this very upsetting time and joining us as someone without some experience and tips. Amy Brown is director of development with meals on wheels, San Diego County and Amy, welcome to the program.
Speaker 11: 30:42 Thank you Maureen.
Speaker 4: 30:43 There's an estimated 5.3 million seniors in California. Is meals on wheels doing anything special to help their customers during this time?
Speaker 11: 30:52 We're continuing with our services as best we can. Um, as of yet, there have been no changes to our services. We continue to provide two healthy meals per day as well as the safety check and we are able to do so because of the volunteers that we have. We are watching and listening to what the is saying and what the CDC is saying about our seniors who are over 65 who are making deliveries. So we may need more volunteers to help out with that. But as for now, business as usual,
Speaker 4: 31:24 what should we watch out for when it comes to neighbors and friends who are older or who have health problems? What should we make sure they have during the time they are being told to stay home?
Speaker 11: 31:35 Check in with your neighbor and make sure that they've got everything that they need from healthy foods to obviously toilet paper and hand sanitizer that we're hearing about. I did get an email from a concerned citizen over the weekend who said she saw a senior crying in a parking lot this weekend because they were unable to get the supplies they needed from the stores. So if you can make that little extra effort, if you're healthy and can make an extra effort to help your senior neighbors, I'm sure that would be greatly appreciated.
Speaker 4: 32:05 How do you start the conversation to find out if someone could use some help? You know because many people just reflexively say no to offers of help.
Speaker 11: 32:14 Perhaps just deliver a little package on the front doorstep of some shelf stable goods or other items that a senior maybe could use if they're unable to get to the store, pick up a little extra at the store and drop it off with a neighbor and just call it a gift.
Speaker 4: 32:31 Should you limit visits to relatives and friends who are over 65 because you might be afraid of spreading the virus.
Speaker 11: 32:38 We are telling our volunteers
Speaker 1: 32:40 and staff to not come in if they are not well to use all of the recommended precautions as far as handwashing and not touching your face. Certainly limiting your exposure to the most vulnerable populations is a very good idea at this time, but at the same time we need to check in on those folks who need our help. The most. So we're really calling on our volunteer base, at least in our scenario that's a little bit younger, um, who isn't at, at the most risk, um, during this crisis, uh, to be able to check in on those folks and to help out with whether it be mail delivery through meals on wheels or in any other capacity that a family member or a friend might need. What have your volunteers been telling you about, uh, the mood and, uh, the, the way of life that, uh, the people who are now receiving meals on wheels? Has it changed? I mean, are people anxious?
Speaker 11: 33:44 I haven't heard any anxiety coming from our clients. Most li it's, it's the children, the adult children of our clients, you know, what are you doing to make sure, you know, my parents don't get sick. And of course we share that information with them. We are taking great precautions, um, to clean everything, to talk at length with our volunteers about how to stay healthy, how to keep our seniors healthy. We have a contingency plan in place, you know, should the PR virus progress, but as is business as usual.
Speaker 1: 34:16 Okay. Then any more advice for, for people when it comes to older neighbors or friends?
Speaker 11: 34:22 No, just keep an eye out for everybody and you know, we're here. Give us a call. If you see someone who needs help, who's over the age of 60, we're here for them. Um, give us a call if you want to volunteer and you're healthy and not an at risk population.
Speaker 1: 34:39 I've been speaking with Amy Brown, she's director of development with meals on wheels in San Diego and Amy, thank you. Thank you. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh and I'm Jade Hindman. People often look to the yards for comfort during unsettling times, but San Diego's arts community is feeling the effects of the Corona virus. Pandemic last Thursday was supposed to be the kickoff of the 27th San Diego Latino film festival. Instead, it was the day founder and executive director, Ethan van Theo had to announce that the festival would not take place. KPBS archery Porter Beth Armando speaks with van VO about the impact the Corona virus is having on the arts. Ethan, you were faced with having to stop your film festival on what was supposed to be its opening day. So what was that decision process like? Yeah, it was definitely heartbreaking. Um, and really it kind of happened the night before,
Speaker 12: 35:38 like right when I was kind of going to sleep about midnight. I think we got this announcement from the California state health department and the governor made this announcement about, you know, not having more than 250 people in a room and, and the six foot, uh, you know, social distancing rules. So that kind of just like, you know, uh, you know, allow us to have a good sleep to say the least. And so we woke up that next morning and I said to myself, well, let's, you know, let's contact a few film makers. Let's contact some board members. Let's, you know, let's have a dialogue there. But just quickly, you know, the more and more we got into it, it's just, it's like, this is not going to happen. You know, this is probably the hardest decision I've made in the past 27 years. You know, I'm the kind of person who've committed my life and passion to put it on this festival for 27 years and always making sure it always what happened. You know, I always said to myself, no matter what, even if we have to screen on the side of a wall, we're gonna make this festival happen. But it just seemed, you know, at this case, you know, it was completely out of our hands.
Speaker 13: 36:44 Well, and also for a film festival canceling or possibly postponing, this is going to have a huge financial impact on your organization. Do you have any idea what that'll be?
Speaker 12: 36:56 This is the crazy thing, mate. You know, if we maybe would have, you know, had a month or two months or something to prepare, whatever, but you know, at this, at that point or this point like, you know, Thursday morning of course, the day of the festival, we had already, you know, major credit card expenses, you know, down payments to the movie theater, the AMC, um, uh, rental companies, 10 companies, hotels, airlines. So these are costs that, you know, you probably won't get back. You know, you, you might, we might get lucky to get some credit to be able to, you know, use the space at a different part of the year, but you're talking, you know, just, you know, hundred 50, a hundred, $150,000 and just hard expenses right there. Not to mention all the staffing. And so it's, you know, close to 250,000 to $300,000 just to put on this festival every year.
Speaker 12: 37:50 And if you're not getting the ticket sales, and I think a lot of people don't really understand the, um, most arts organizations, especially smart arts organizations are, you know, are really, you know, always a difficult challenge in terms of cashflow, right? So you, you are having to expand and have having to hire people and do all this production before it even happens. And so, you know, for 27 years we've been able to kind of balance and understand like, okay, this is how much we're going to get and ticket sales. And so, you know, we kind of jump off a cliff, you know, like every year. But you know, we're kind of, we, it's based on, uh, experience and guesstimation. We know we're going to get back, but in this case, so you know, if we're not allowed to get the a hundred, $150,000 of ticket sales plus the loss of some corporate, again, you're looking at Hunter 150, even close to $200,000 potential loss.
Speaker 13: 38:43 And what do you feel the community also loses in terms of not having a festival like this? Especially a festival like this, which is for the Latino community and in a border region, we're, you know, immigration and, and those kind of issues are very much in the forefront. I mean, what do we lose as a community by not having this kind of artistic expression?
Speaker 12: 39:07 Yeah, I mean, I, I think for the community here, it's almost like, you know, we've seen your family, you know, a once a year or it's like seeing good friends, like once a year it's a reunion, uh, that people like, you know, they take off work, they go on their vacations, uh, they plan around, you know, this film festival for, it's been 27 years and it's been a, a tradition for so many people and you know, so the attendees missing each other, they miss hearing their language on the big screen or seeing something about their country, their Homeland. And then, you know, it's not just, you know, the attendees, but you have, um, all these community partners, you know, how supporter Rico, that every year, like organizes a, a co-presentation and it's a fundraiser for them as well. All these musicians that participate in Sony, the Latino and play of life music, uh, artists aren't they Latino who present their artwork.
Speaker 12: 39:58 So all of these different, um, community organizations, uh, partners, attendees are affected. And it's definitely a loss for everybody. And you know, we know we want to obviously, you know, adhere to what the health departments, everyone's suggesting in terms of, you know, staying inside and being careful, being safe and stuff like that. But for us as an organization, you know, 27 years it's all been about getting people out and together and discussing issues and seeing films and talking about these wonderful films in a community gathering. And the same thing with our movie theater here, the digital gym, cinema, it's all about getting people to see it together and have that communal experience. And so by not having that, it's really, you know, I think a shock to all of us, both mentally, physically, uh, that, you know, it's going to take weeks, months, potentially a year, just to recuperate personally to not just financially, but just on a personal level. I think all of us, all the staff, everybody, you know, and the attendees.
Speaker 13: 40:56 And at this point in time you are hoping, this is not a cancellation, but hopefully just a postponement.
Speaker 12: 41:03 Indeed. I think, you know, I mean, you know, there's so many unknowns right now. I mean, I wish this, this, uh, this whole crisis has just been, uh, a challenge for us because, you know, we, we try to plan right? You know, we, we, we planned before the festival and we keep on moving and we keep on moving. We have the movie theater open right now. Uh, we keep on trying to plan, but then every day it seems like there's a new announcement that's just, you know, put it into challenges. You know, it's like our educational program with the schools closing. Now our educational programs, most likely, well for sure they've stopped at all schools and community organizations and most likely that all of our camps for spring will be canceled. Now there's announcements about movie theaters closing in LA in different parts of the country.
Speaker 12: 41:49 So now you're looking at the movie theater closing. So you're trying to organize yourself and plan ahead, but it's becoming really difficult if every day, um, there's new announcements. So is it four weeks? We're looking at, is it eight weeks looking at, are we looking at July and August? Initial goal as of like three days ago was to yeah, for sure. Go into the fall. Yeah. Barring any other major issues we would do, you know, place it somewhere in the fall. And of course we also have to be careful there's other film festivals and other events taking place at the same time and you know, and, and that's internationally too. It's all these stumps was they're going to try to like, you know, reschedule themselves. So it'll be an interesting juggle of, uh, access to films, content, media, partners, sponsors. It's going to be interesting, but no matter what I believe the festival has to happen. It's going to happen. It might take a different form, but we have to get these films out here, out to the community and support the filmmakers and artists and, you know, a moist say, send a wan. I've done an amazing job curating these films. It's close to 200 films when you include the shorts as well, so we want to make sure people get to see them on the big screen.
Speaker 1: 42:58 All right, Ethan, I want to thank you very much for talking about the San Diego Latino film festival. Thank you very much. That was Beth OG Amando speaking with Ethan van Theo of the San Diego Latino film festival. You can find more information on how film festivals have been impacted by the Corona virus on best cinema junkie blog.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across the state and in San Diego County, new public health measures are now in effect. Bars are closed, dining at restaurants is prohibited and seniors are being urged to self-isolate at home to slow the spread of coronavirus. UCLA’s Anderson Economic Forecast says the US is now in a recession due to the pandemic. Plus, San Diego-area employment law attorney Dan Eaton joined Midday to discuss what employees should know amid the outbreak — from paid sick leave to working from home. Also, a mental health expert talks about how to stay centered during these unsettling times. And, the coronavirus isn’t stopping Meals on Wheels from delivering food to San Diego seniors. Finally, how coronavirus is affecting San Diego’s arts community.