Life In A COVID-19 Capital District

There’s doubt about it, living in this COVID-19 world poses its challenges for everyone.

Following the protocols and practicing social distancing and self-isolating is what we have to do to protect the higher risk groups in the community, and overall to stem the spread of the disease. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier when you are trying to co-exist in a house with parents and children and pets all jammed together, working from home or distance learning or what have you.

Even if you wanted to venture out and escape the walls that will soon start to feel like they are closing in, what could you do? Almost everything is shut down, or running on delivery and pick up only.

I work from home and am a stay at home mom to my four-year-old daughter. She usually has preschool and dance classes and playdates, and I used to schedule my article writing around those moments. My wife works outside of the home, and we had a whole routine down pat. We were a well-oiled machine. Now, my daughter has no school, no dance, no playdates. My wife is working from home for the foreseeable future.

Today is the third day that we have all been here, and it has been a long year – I mean week – already.

Most of us are in a similar situation, because most of us know that whether you live alone, with a roommate/roommates, or as part of a family, the same old things will be getting old – FAST.

If you are sick of cooking, but can’t leave your home for whatever reason, there are a lot of restaurants offering delivery that normally wouldn’t, and many have made special offerings for the current period. You can check those out here, as well as a shortlist of places to get free meals for those families who normally depend on schools for their children’s lunches.

Not only does ordering out give you a bit of a break from what you have stocked in your pantry, but it is also vital to keep local small businesses alive in this difficult time.

Any third party delivery services (ie: Door Dash, GrubHub, etc.) have temporarily suspended all delivery fees and restaurant commissions during the COVID-19 crisis. The state has temporarily changed the laws regarding alcoholic beverages, allowing an establishment to deliver anything they serve on-premises (previously this only applied to beer) as long as the food is included in the order.

There’s also the option of buying gift cards. A few people I know who may not necessarily want to eat out have purchased gift cards and then asked the restaurants to give them to the next parent or elderly person who places an order that may be more in need. In this scary time, it is nice to know a lot of us are striving to do all we can to help out our fellow Capital Region citizens.

Speaking of families that may be struggling to feed their children without school-provided meals, it’s important to highlight that all schools must now have in place and submitted to the state Education Department an action plan to continue providing academic instruction to their students.

They also are support to have plans to distribute meals, keep in communication with staff, parents, students, etc., and have an option for childcare – especially for those medical and first responders who are on the front lines the fight against COVID-19. If you require one of these services, you should inquire with your local district as to what’s available.

Some interesting and entrepreneurial efforts going on in our region…

Capital Distillery on Learned Aveue in Albany is giving out a spray bottle of their homemade hand sanitizer with orders. Their sanitizer is made with lavender, organic aloe vera, tea tree oil and vodka leftover after the distilling processes. This sanitizer has 75 percent alcohol (per volume) which is 15 percent over the recommended 60 percent needed to properly sanitize and kill the novel coronavirus. They have free delivery, and most of their spirits are $40 a bottle.

Cafe Lena, located on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, is a popular gathering spot in the thriving area that is popular for its coffee concoctions and its promotion of live local talent. Caffè Lena is widely recognized not only locally, but nationally as being the longest continuous folk music venue in the United States.

Cafe Lena has won national acclaim, but also tries to always stay true to the pledge it made in 1960 to “simplicity, kindness to strangers, and art above profit.” In accordance with their core belief, Cafe Lena is presenting what they have named “Stay at Home Sessions.” Planned performances are still taking place, but in an empty space and broadcast live on YouTube.

A prominent local favorite, Ted’s Fish Fry, is working hard to ensure that no kid misses as much as one meal in this troubling time. If you bring in a piece of your child’s artwork or homework, you can choose one free kids meal in exchange.

That’s it, no catch. As posted on their Facebook page, this pandemic should be no reason for any child to go hungry.

“After reading about how many kids would be without lunches once schools shut down, this offer seemed like a no brainer!Also, we didn’t want parents to feel that they had to bring their kids to our store’s in order to benefit from the program. We decided to have them bring in something tangible, instead. By choosing a homework or artwork assignment, we’re hoping to encourage kids to spend some time at home working on something educational or creative. ” -Deanna Deeb (The Deeb’s have owned Ted’s Fish Fry from its beginnings)

We salute the owners, management, and staff of Ted’s for putting the children of the Capital Region first, and thank them for what they are doing.

In this current time of social distancing, interacting with the outside world is not easy or recommended. These are just some of the ways to stay engaged with your local communities during this time. Unfortunately, the amount of things canceled or postponed grows every day.

Please remember to try and support those restaurants and other small businesses trying to make it in this time. Ordering out once a paycheck, getting something delivered from a local small business rather than Amazon, or buying a gift card could go a long way in helping everyone through this unprecedented time in our current world.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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