See more of our coronavirus coverage, including community resources and personal stories.



TASCA: Allison, when did you find out about the shutdown of bars and restaurants?  Was that announced right after you got home?

BLANCO: Yeah, I believe it was the next day.  My boss called me and said they were shutting restaurants down.  I wasn't as concerned as I am now, but I was scared.  I've never been unemployed in my entire life.  I've never been on unemployment, never had to file, never taken anything like that.

I didn't think it was going to last this long, though.  I didn't really grasp the gravity of the situation.  Like, this is going to be months of weirdness.  And now things are going to be weird for a long time, I think.

TASCA: What has it been like over the last couple of months?  You go from this extreme of working every day, and now you're not working at all.  So what has that been like?

BLANCO: I've definitely been bored.  I did a lot of cleaning right away.  I should've left myself some.  I should've gone slower.  I didn't realize I was going to have so much time.  

The weather has been challenging.  I think if it was nicer out, I'd be in a better head space because you could get outside and do some yard work, stuff like that.  But I'm really unmotivated when it's raining all the time.  I've been watching a lot of Netflix, trying to keep those steps up because I've got to fit into those work pants when this is all over.  

TASCA: How do you deal with the uncertainty of not exactly knowing when you're going to be able to go back to work, both financially and personally?

BLANCO: I've recently gotten unemployment so financially I'm in a little bit better place.  It's definitely not the best thing ever but it's something.  Just getting back to normal would make me feel a lot better emotionally, I think.  I miss people.  I'm a very social person, so I've definitely been kind of lonely.  I think a lot of people are.  

At first, you just weren't sure.  People, you know, the internet keyboard warriors are out there making you feel like you can't go take a walk.  It's just been crazy.  We're really fortunate where I live.  We have a lot of wide open space.  I don't have to encounter anybody if I don't want to and I can still get outside and do stuff.  

Some friends are more radical about their isolation than others.  Some friends are willing to sit outside in some chairs and sit far apart.  I have to say, I do have a couple that my boyfriend and I have seen and it's been a great godsend to have them.  You know, we just sit in the driveway.  We're not spitting on each other or anything like that, so I feel pretty safe.  There are some people who wouldn't feel safe doing that.  But it was nice to have that small circle, someone as an outlet, you know?  Someone other than just me, myself, and my boyfriend.

TASCA: Now when Lucky's does reopen, are you mentally prepared for things to be different?  You're probably going to have to wear a mask for the indefinite future when you're serving people who you've known for years.

BLANCO: I think the mask thing is going to be very awkward.  If they're going to run at limited capacity and things like that, I'm worried about not making much money.  That's one worry.  And just having society's social norms totally changed for the indefinite future is very scary.  I worry that people will get uncomfortable with each other.  We're pretty tight-knit creatures.  

Social interactions have been really strange.  If you go to the grocery store, no one's speaking, no one wants to look at you.  It's just really weird and I wonder that it might have a lasting impact on how we socialize with each other.  I just really hope we don't get to a point where we can't come back from it.  It's very scary.  

I'm super concerned about the restaurant industry and how this is going to play out, but I am going to ride it out for now.  I have considered changing careers but that's not much of an option for me.  So I'm going to see what happens until I make any rash decisions about that.  

Joe Tasca can be reached at jtasca@ripr.org