Life in Lockdown: Helen Jones, Austin, Texas, USA

Helen Jones Life in Lockdown

Caption: Helen in lockdown with her granddaughter Bexley

Life in Lockdown | Posted: Monday, April 27th, 2020 at 1:56 pm | return to news

Life in Lockdown: Texas – flour is sparse at the stores

By Helen Jones (submitted 11 April)

Helen Jones Life in Lockdown

Caption: Helen in lockdown with her granddaughter Bexley

Hi, my name is Helen and we live in the suburbs of Austin, Texas.

We have been encouraged to stay at home now for the last four weeks.  Most people here are taking heed of the suggestions relating to the coronavirus. We are allowed to go to the grocery store, no specific rules on when we can go but they have a couple of hours in the morning for seniors to get their shopping done.

When you get to the checkout, you have to stand on the squares taped to the floor, allowing distance between you and the person in front. We have Perspex shields protecting the cashier from you and vice versa and the person who packs your groceries is also protected.

A lot more people are wearing masks as they shop, I haven’t up until now, but from now on I’ll be wearing gloves and a mask. In my opinion, the stores are going out of their way to keep you safe, it’s the idiots that think they are immune who are the ones who are a pain in the neck. Fortunately, I haven’t come across anyone like that.

Texas store open

The shelves are very sparse. Most non-perishables are gone and up until recently the bread aisle was empty. There is plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, eggs and milk. I guess most people stock up on canned food… ugh! People seem to be baking more, I usually keep a well-stocked pantry because I love baking.

All the shopping carts are sanitized and lined up ready for customer use. There are staff at the door allowing people in at intervals which is good but then, once you’re in, people don’t keep a distance from you. There are also hand sanitizers at the entrance and you are encouraged to use them.

We can walk our dogs at any time. Fortunately, we have parks and walking trails close by and whenever I go, it’s pretty quiet.

All the restaurants are closed for dining in but you can either get food delivered or go and pick it up. Not sure about clothing stores and malls. I haven’t been to find out. Also, I don’t know the situation downtown.

Texas stay home sign

All schools are closed so I guess the kids won’t be going back to school until August… if then!

I was doing an exercise class before the advice kicked in, but now that’s closed. I can get in on demand on the TV so at least I am keeping fit.

We have our eldest son, his fiancée and granddaughter with us at the moment, they arrived before things got serious. Both of them were in the cruise line industry and that’s gone to pot. Fortunately, Andrew is a bit of an entrepreneur so has some ideas in the pipeline.

I think once this is all over, people are going to rethink their way of life and employers are going to realise that a lot of work can be done at home.

Since I started writing this a couple of days ago, I have heard that, here in our neighbourhood, they are talking about closing the parks and trails. That would be a real shame but if it has to be done… Also, I’ve just about run out of flour and that’s sparse at the stores.

Since Helen submitted this article, Donald Trump gave a White House briefing announcing that Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to open on Monday [20 April] while still requiring appropriate social distancing precautions. Helen said there were still pretty strict lockdown rules. Developments continue to unfold. Editor

Helen’s report is the seventh from our series ‘Life in Lockdown’ featuring lockdown stories from people in Dorset and across the globe. ‘Life in Lockdown’ aims to shine a light on how people’s lives have been affected by lockdown and how they are surviving. They will share their experiences and tips for living in lockdown. We will be publishing the reports online over the next couple of weeks and in the upcoming May 4Dorset magazine. If you have a lockdown story you would like to share please get in touch as we would love to hear from you.

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