Staff Reporter: Matthew Stegman
Yikes; if you haven’t noticed, or you’ve been on a social media cleanse lately, going out has really been an issue. With the increasing panic in SWFL (along with the rest of the world) over the Covid-19/Coronavirus, many measures have been taken to prevent possible exposure and infection. One motion was put into effect mid-morning on March 17th, when Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all bars and schools to close in an effort to protect the public’s health.
If you are not much of a drinker, like I am, you may not think bar-closing is a big deal. You may be asking yourself, “Well, why should I care?” and go about your day. What lies beneath the surface of this safety protocol, is the part of the iceberg no one thinks we are crashing into as a community: it’s putting a lot of people out of work! Almost every locally owned bar is also a venue for live entertainment. The SWFL music and art scene’s health stats suddenly took a hit as artists, musicians, and performers all started to receive the news that their events had been canceled!
Working in retail, I have personally seen lines of a hundred customers, ready to barge through the doors as soon as they open. I have seen people throw themselves in a panic on top of one another over water, toilet paper, dry and canned food, as well as anything they deem necessary for an oncoming apocalypse. I have talked to mothers who serve or bartend, as they tear up discussing fear of how they will feed their families and make enough money to survive. I have spoken to artists whose events, tours, and income have suffered, who worry if they’ll be able to make ends meet. I’ve seen the face of fatigue on medical staff, as they describe the increasing workload. Promoters and marketers are losing venues and possible clients. Hard times trickle down as each day passes.
Creatives create, and performers perform, it’s kind of what they do. While most people who are affected by the social distancing are able to work from the comfortability of their home, others are scrambling. The heat is on as providers struggle to provide. Imagine you’re bartending and making a decent amount of money normally, or you’re a freelance musician who pays the bills by playing up to three shows a day. Suddenly your work life and financial stability screech to a halt as a pandemic comes marching along. In an effort to sustain and support our quarantined community, Set Life Pro is working on bringing live-stream performances to social media. We are also brainstorming ways to market local vendors, artists, and content creators online. Things are becoming increasingly difficult in the creative community and Set Life Pro is making attempts to smooth things over as much as we can.
So what do we know about Covid-19? The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. It is incredibly hard to differentiate between the flu and Coronavirus, and finding a place to get tested for Covid-19 is neither easy or convenient. The disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Hence why we are all told to stay home, wash our hands, and avoid touching our faces. Schools have closed to prevent children from contracting or spreading it. For that same reason, events have been cancelled and gatherings of over ten people are highly discouraged.
What can you do to stay safe? If you have any symptoms call your doctor. Wash and sanitize your hands! Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw used tissues in the trash.
What can you do to help your local art and music scene? Reach out and stay proactive in the community from the comfort of your own home. Tune in to live, social media streams! Share what you see online, and tag friends who you think would enjoy it! Listen to new songs, admire new work. Subscribe to local Youtube channels or Spotify pages where the artists can gain revenue. You’re stuck at home, so why not invest in finding new favorite creatives to follow? Why not read their book, share a picture, or listen to their album? Show your support! Things have been hard but remember in times like this, everyone is trying. Now is the time to grow stronger as a society and be kind to those around you.
For more info on how you can interact with your local scene, or attend possible events (whether live or virtual), be sure to follow Set Life Pro on Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest updates.