Zone Orange

“Marshmallow Sunset”

Sure, most of us understood we weren’t out of the woods yet.

After the New York State COVID-19 lockdown back in March, April and May, the pandemic curve flattened and everything eventually reopened.  Those of us not working from home went back to the office, stores and restaurants reopened fully, and even gyms and movie theaters were allowed to accept customers.  Come autumn, most of the schools also opened for in-person classes, or at least for a hybrid version (half remote/half in-person).

Many people became complacent and began ignoring the COVID guidelines.  Some blamed it on COVID fatigue; others simply felt that if they hadn’t already gotten the disease, they weren’t likely to.  There was no longer that fear of partying – after all, these were all friends and family, right?

The weather stayed warm and summery well into early autumn.  People took the opportunity to have outdoor barbecues and street parties.  After all, you can’t get sick if you’re outside, right?

Halloween was a big party time for many people.  I saw on Facebook that there were members of my own extended family who hosted parties for pretty much everyone they knew, including friends, families, neighbors, colleagues.  I don’t doubt that the pizza delivery guy was invited in as well.  But those parties were held in backyards and garages – that makes it safe, right?

Apparently, COVID-19 is smarter than the party people – and apparently COVID is very patient.

In the last few weeks, the numbers of positive cases and hospitalization have surged.  My county has the highest percentage rate of COVID cases in all of New York State.

Gov. Cuomo instituted new COVID guidelines for “hot zones.”  My county was declared a Yellow Zone, meaning somewhat tighter restrictions.  Restaurants and retailers had to limit the amount of customers at any given time, and of course everyone was required to wear masks (as they should have been doing all along), but otherwise it wasn’t much different than it had been since May.  Even schools were still allowed to have in-person classes, with the caveat that they had to start COVID testing both staff and students on a regular basis.

Yellow Zone status lasted only about two weeks.  The infection rate continued to surge.  Now we are in Orange Zone status.

11-22-20: Wouldn’t you love to dine outside today?

Orange Zone restrictions mean no indoor dining of any kind – only outdoor dining and take-out is allowed.  (It’s now November, temperatures have dipped, and even those restaurants with outdoor patios are unlikely to get customers willing to sit outside when it’s 35 degrees Fahrenheit.)  Schools are remote-learning only.  Gyms and movie theaters are closed, as are beauty salons.

At the moment, those of us who still go to offices at “non-essential” business can continue to do so.

But according to some reports I’ve heard in the last couple of days, that may change as early as next week.  We may go to Red Zone status – which means total lockdown for all except essential businesses.

Right back where we were in March, April and May.

Mostly because people just can’t be bothered with following some simple guidelines, like wearing masks in public and staying six feet away from others.  Or simply because some people simply can’t forego their socializing.

This time will be worse.  There will be no federal funds to supplement those meager state unemployment benefits, and there will be no federal funds to help smaller businesses weather another lockdown.

The holiday season is upon us.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve overheard discussing their upcoming Thanksgiving plans with family and friends – just like every other year, they will host huge dinner parties, with absolutely no consideration given to COVID guidelines.  Come Christmas, a lot of those dinner guests may be too ill to care about food or gifts.

On the other hand, there are many of us who realize this is not going to be a normal holiday season.  I worried that my own kids would be upset when hubby and I bowed out of both Thanksgiving dinner and the annual Christmas get-together.  Imagine my relief when I received word from every one of my daughters that they also are spending the holidays in their own homes, with just their significant others.  It’s been decided that this year’s get-together will be virtual, and I’m all for that.  I even scored the very last basic webcam which our local Best Buy had in stock, and I’ve already set up my Zoom account.

The holidays will be somewhat different this year, but they’ll be enjoyable nonetheless.  And as a mother, I am very, very happy that my kids all have the sense to take the pandemic seriously.  There’s enough to worry about right now without having to deal with potential super-spreader events.


Of course, the annual cookie-baking party is also cancelled, but who really needs shared cookies anyway?  This year, I guess we’ll each bake our own.


Everyone just needs to hunker down and get through the next few months, until the much-touted vaccine is available.   Hopefully, by this time next year the entire COVID-19 pandemic will merely be a bad memory.  With luck, and a lot of common sense this year, next year’s holiday season will be a normal one – and probably a better one because of this year’s sacrifices.

May you all stay healthy and safe wherever you are.  This, too, shall pass.


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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio


This entry was posted in Health, Holidays, Photography, That's Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Zone Orange

  1. We knew the holidaymaker traffic and visitors would bring COVID to us, and they did. No social distancing, masks, or consideration for those trying to abide by the rules. They were on holiday, and it didn’t matter……….. they left infection in their wake and many have died. Still they come, to their holiday homes, caravans and chalets. Many residents stay indoors, afraid to go out, afraid to answer the door, afraid……. period. Nowhere is safe and we can only do what we are doing, avoid everybody. The health service here in our town sucks. GPs won’t see patients, and those that are too ill don’t warrant home visits. Let’s hope a vaccine is available to all before too long. Keep safe.


    • Ugh. Sounds even worse than it is here. We can still get medical care, although as the number of cases rise, the hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. Fortunately, the majority of people I’ve seen do wear masks, and of course, our stores require that.


      • Our stores are saying that too, but social distancing is being ignored. Our GP surgery leaves much to be desired, though when we have had to seek emergency assistance at the hospitals or UTCs, we can’t fault it. I am just grateful we can both drive.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol says:

    As much as I resent Covid for forcing us to cancel our family get-together for Thanksgiving, I realize this is the best thing to do. I don’t feel my basic freedoms are being infringed upon, I just feel it is a big inconvenience, but one that is necessary. I will feel the same when we acknowledge that Christmas will also be spent separately this year. Unhappy, but resigned.


  3. ladyryl says:

    Our area is going into Red as of tomorrow….
    Stay safe everyone!


  4. Marc Beebe says:

    Exactly right. This is what is happening everywhere. My province has gone from a low of 2 new cases per day to a record high of 767 new cases one day. It’s all because people will not follow the simple rules of limiting the social interaction which allows the disease to spread. We even had an “anti-mask” rally here in our tiny town – after the very first known cases were revealed.
    My wife got her degree from a medical school in England. I’m a retired engineer. We are both old and now appalled at the utter stupidity which has lead to this virus becoming the worst problem the world now faces. It is deadlier than any other virus out there right now. The only thing we have to control it is protocols. And the stupid people swear it isn’t real, causing it to spread no matter what precautions others take.
    And your country has the highest infection and death rate of all, due largely to having a fact-denying moron in charge for the past 4 years. Good luck surviving; we’re keeping the border closed.


    • Yep. Just imagine my surprise, and anger, when I arrived home from work the day we went to Zone Orange and found my next-door neighbors had set up a lemonade stand and were having a front-yard party, with no masks nor social distancing. Stupid people. I’m afraid I was a bit curt when the kids all starting running towards me yelling “Lemonade!” and I told them to “Keep back!” Fortunately, it hasn’t caused a rift between me and my neighbors, most of whom I like when they’re not being idiots.


  5. willowdot21 says:

    It’s bad here too and not everyone takes it seriously enough. We are in our second lockdown but many are just going about as normal. Traffic on the roads, people walking round. People meeting others …..
    I am having to shield as hopefully I am having an operation on 27th so I can’t go out or mix with anyone, let alone see our lads or grandchildren. I dread to think how far Christmas will set everyone back, as they will all bend the rules…
    They will justify it but they will break the rules! Wishing you well C.M stay safe.💜


  6. Dan Antion says:

    Stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving CM.


  7. Jane says:

    Have a nice Thanksgiving. We too are limiting our day to just us. And its ok, and less work…..lolol. Stay safe and healthy.


  8. simplywendi says:

    Thank you! We are trying to stay safe and healthy, wearing masks, keeping our distance, washing hands and not getting out very often. It is really difficult when so many people just don’t care.


  9. markbialczak says:

    May we all get through this safely, CM. We have not stepped up from yellow to orange here to your east … yet. We’ve been wearing our masks and keeping our distances since March, but we had allowed the (grown) kids inside the bubble. They have not answered yet about picking up wrapped plates at the door Thursday or what exactly their plans are …


  10. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours, CM. Cheers 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷😻


  11. Pingback: Day 14 – Orange you glad I’m still here? | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

  12. alindaperry says:

    The bottom line is that some Americans, if not most, value freedom over a gov that ‘protects’ people with forced medical procedures, tests or needles. Americans who believe in freedom prefer choice when it comes to medical freedom.


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