Although the number of new Covid-19 infections is beginning to drop, parts of the US are still fighting the outbreak. Bébé Voyage ambassador, Ami Grilly, shares her experience of living in New York City during the pandemic.
Could you tell us a little about your family?
My husband Seth and I have a 2-year-old daughter named Kennedy. We live in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan and both work in the hospitality/restaurant industry and we travel a lot for both business and pleasure. We absolutely love living in NYC and being a part of this amazing industry!
Where were you when the Covid-19 outbreak started?
I was on a work trip in Sonoma, California, when I finally understood the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. The flight on my way to San Francisco was empty and the airports were also very quiet. I was the only person on my shuttle bus to the rental car agency and San Francisco had no traffic, which never happens! This was the first week travel limits were advised and the stock market started to drop significantly. My husband was also on a work trip and we decided to get home earlier than planned.
How did the outbreak affect the area you live in? What has been your experience?
We are being affected by extreme guidelines in advance of the rest of the country. Because of this, every new measure of business closures, school closures, and stay-at-home suggestions were originally met with questions like “How serious should we take this?” After the first few days, the entire city seemed to get on board and began isolating with their families. We have been self-isolating since March 14 and only leave the apartment for essential needs.
Has your childcare/job/day-to-day changed since the outbreak?
Yes. Our nanny has had to stay home with her three children who are not in school now. We have had to lay her off until further notice, although we did pay a few weeks of severance. We are looking after our daughter full-time and trying to maintain our work schedules from home at the same time. Staying on top of work and also her education and activities sometimes seems impossible. This is the longest we have all been together as a family at home, which has been the silver lining but also presents a lot of challenges too.
What is happening now?
Our industry has been deeply, and possibly irreversibly, affected. We are holding our breath to see when this will end and what this means for our companies, our friends, and our colleagues.
How has the response from the public been to any of the new measures the government has put in place?
The stay-at-home measures were too little, too late. The stimulus package is simply not enough.
Are your kids aware of what is going on?
No, our daughter is too young to understand. She is mostly very happy to have so much time with Mommy and Daddy and a lot more screen time than usual!
How has your child’s education been affected?
We do our best to have our daughter join online music and reading classes, but due to our work schedules, it is not always possible. I have great admiration and respect for teachers and individuals who teach young children and toddlers. My husband and I do not have this skill set or patience so we cannot wait for her to be back in her programs with professional teachers. The social interaction at this age is almost as important as the lessons themselves, so it will be great when she can be with friends again as she has not had contact with children in almost three weeks.
What has been the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on your daily life?
We are not homebodies so staying at home 24/7 is a big adjustment for us, we live in the city because we love being out and about. Although we are hard on ourselves for being lazy and not changing out of pajamas all day, we try and remind ourselves that this is not our doing. Staying home is what is needed to protect ourselves and our community. We do love cooking and do not always have the time to try new recipes or bake, so we’ve been doing more of that which is nice. I also usually attend workout classes multiple times a week, so learning how to work out at home has been a struggle. Our jobs have been severely affected as our companies have closed most of their businesses. It is a very stressful situation to be in, and the uncertainty of how long this will last and what the impact will be on us is mentally exhausting.
What type of precautions are you and your family taking?
We only leave the house for essential needs like groceries or pharmacy runs. If we go out or to any store we make sure to wear masks and gloves. When we go for a short walk around the block, we make sure to keep a good distance from anyone we pass.
Do you know anyone who has been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak?
Yes, we know people who have tested positive. They had symptoms that ranged from mild to severe but are now recovered or recovering. We also wonder if we contracted the disease, as we showed some mild symptoms but we were not able to be tested. We know a lot of people who have lost their jobs or had to close their business.
One more thing, could you suggest something for other parents to do at home with their kids? It could be anything from educational apps, learning a new language, keeping the spirit of travel alive when we cannot go outside, etc.
One of the things I have loved is the online courses being offered by teachers. For the first time, we are not limited to the classes offered in our neighborhood. For instance, I found an amazing music teacher in Los Angeles doing online music classes and we have been able to join those! We’ve been able to meet some new baby and parent friends through that too. We look forward to visiting them on our next trip to LA!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual, not of Bébé Voyage, unless specifically indicated to that effect.
Were you also living in New York City during the pandemic? Or do you have an experience you would like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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