Hello CivMixers, welcome to a new week. I hope everyone had a good weekend, and a happy holiday, whichever holiday they happened to celebrate.

My family and I had a nice Easter, though the Easter Bunny lost her mind and bought the munchkin a skateboard. So. Yeah. Not the wisest thing that the Bunny has ever done…I blame COVID isolation. At least it was nice enough to take it outside and play.

Then we got to today – and the wind – and the rain – and the crazy. Right now it is calm, kinda sunny – however, according to The Weather Channel, the worst is on its way – rapidly. Make sure you all take care and stay safe with the storms tonight.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

1) As November draws ever closer, former presidential hopeful, a senator from Vermont and liberal powerhouse Bernie Sandersthrew his support to the presumptive Democratic 2020 nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden. After pulling out of the race last week, Sanders waited until today to officially endorse Biden, though he had always said that he would endorse the Democratic nominee no matter what.

Appearing with Biden in a live video today, Sanders pleaded for his followers to join in him to endorse the former VP in his run and pleaded with America to end President Donald Trump’s sojourn in the White House at one term.

The two also announced the formation of many task forces to work on policy issues that they both feel strongly about, including criminal justice, the economy, and education. Sanders and Biden acknowledged they hold many different opinions on these and other critical policy matters, yet stressed how people can come together to work towards similar goals even if they have vastly diametric world views.

The Democratic duo pledged to debate respectfully and work together for common goals.

2) Governors on both the East and West coasts today announcedregional pacts and joint task forces to deal with how to start moving on from the novel coronavirus crisis.

On this side of the nation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he and his counterparts in Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island – through top members of their respective staffs – will be working together to re-launch the economy, when it’s safe to do so. This is in recognition that so many of their constituents travel from one state to another to work and recreate that it’s not wise to have one state open for business when another is still struggling to contain a viral outbreak.

Meanwhile, on the West coast, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his counterparts in Oregon, and Washington announced they’ll be working to form a plan to slowly and incrementally reopen their states.

There can be little doubt that these announcements were in response to President Donald Trump’s statement that he – and only he – has the power and authority to re-open the economy – not only federally, but at the state level as well. Not happening, the governors said, especially not when it was the states – not the federal government – that really drove the coronavirus response effort.

The governors on both coasts insisted that any and all decisions made by their task forces will based on facts, public health experts’ advice and science – and that politics will not be involved at all.

3) Speaking of Cuomo, in case you missed it, over the Easter weekend he signed an executive order, ordering essential business employers to provide masks for their employees that interact with the public in any way. Employees can bring in their own masks if they so choose, but cannot be required to do so at their own expense.

Essential businesses have until 8 p.m. this Wednesday – April 15 – to comply with this new order. If they are financially unable to provide the masks, then the essential business should request them from local emergency management offices – but pending requests will not alleviate the burden of providing the masks as laid out in the order.

4) In a COVID-19 Capital Region, small businesses have to be creative to stay afloat until the state opens back up. That is exactly what Impressions of Saratoga is doing. The longtime gift shop that is known to be everything Saratoga has relocated from the sidewalk to cyberspace.

Owners Marianne Barker and Maddy Zanetti have created what they’re calling “porch packages” – boxes stuffed with themed and locally sourced products – that can be ordered online and delivered (free of charge if local) right to your porch…hence, the same. If you are missing your local products and want to continue to support small Capital Region businesses, this is a great way to continue to get them. (Peppermint Pigs, anyone?)

5) Along the same lines, both the Guilderland and Washington Park Farmers Markets’ are going online. As of today, you can go to their respective websites, purchase your goods and have them packed for pickup.

Pickups will begin later in the month, and since you will pay online, the orders will be brought right to you in order to observe social distancing.

That’s it for today folks. Again, stay dry, stay safe, and here’s to hoping the lights stay on. Fingers crossed.

Photo credit: George Fazio.