The past week has been pretty volatile for everyone, around the world. Whole countries “locked down”, stock-market swings like never before (2,000 points in one day on the Dow!), panic-buying leading to empty store shelves, restaurants and other public venues closing, and a death-count rising almost everywhere. I live right smack in the middle of a “hot zone” in the Seattle area, so the local media is keeping us informed of conditions around Puget Sound.
I have a dedicated “professional” email account, where I direct emails from companies I buy from, both online and in person, and use for my employment contacts, should I be looking for a job. For the past two weeks, I have been receiving emails from most of the stores and businesses I buy from, with a variety of updates and information on how they are dealing with the crisis. Most places describe how they are keeping their own premises and employees safe; cleaning everything in sight, encouraging everyone to stay home if feeling sick, and following local and national guidelines.
Herewith, a sample of some of the emails I have been receiving:
The first one, from last week, from the head of Alaska Airlines. I was impressed that he has eight children-that’s pretty unusual these days, and I admire him for it:
Please be assured that Alaska Airlines is closely monitoring the situation, including conducting daily briefings with some of the best medical experts in the nation. Our top priority is always the safety of you and our employees. Check out our blog on the extra steps we are taking to keep our guests safe with additional cleaning and updates to onboard procedures.
At Alaska, we are optimistic about the future and hope you feel that way too. We launched our Peace of Mind policy so that you can take comfort in knowing that any ticket purchased after February 27, 2020 can be changed or canceled without a fee (applies for any travel through February 28, 2021). Today, we launched our biggest fare sale yet with fares starting as low as $20 one way* for travel between March 19, 2020 and May 20, 2020. And, we’ve got great deals to Hawaiʻi, New York and Florida starting at $99 one way.* We hope the combination of these great fares and our Peace of Mind policy will help those who want to travel this spring but are concerned their plans may change.
We understand that everyone is in a different place when it comes to what is best for you and your family. Just recently, Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “I just want to echo again that the risk is low—the risk is low. I encourage Americans to go about their life. That includes travel to California, Oregon and the state of Washington.”
In closing, some of you may know that my wife and I are blessed with eight children. We have a family trip to Hawaiʻi planned for spring break this year, and we can’t wait to go! We know things can change, but we are looking forward to our trip together as a family. Hopefully we will see some of you there.
Thank you for being a Mileage Plan™ member.
From my financial institution where I have my “play money” individual stock Roth IRA account:
As you might expect, volatility in the markets has increased the number of clients contacting us. Unfortunately, this has resulted in much longer than normal phone wait times, sometimes keeping us from delivering the level of service we are known for.
Given the potential spread of the virus over the coming weeks, we’re anticipating additional impacts that may lead to a continuation of extended wait times. In an effort to protect the safety and welfare of both our clients and associates, we may deem it necessary to limit or suspend person‑to‑person interactions between our clients and associates within our branches. If that is the case, our branch staff still would be available to clients by phone or other means. Please check the branch locator for the most up to date information on your local branch. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
They also emphasize that their Web site is the place to go for more information 24/7.
From Lands’ End, where I often buy clothing items. They are located in rural Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and have some of the best customer service around:
We are following guidance from public health officials and government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), so we can make assessments and provide information and guidance as the situation develops.
Employee self-care is important to us. We continue to focus on encouraging washing your hands regularly, staying home when you are sick to prevent the spread of germs to others, and hand sanitizers are available for all employees. We also have restricted international travel and US travel is on a case by case basis.
In addition to our regular cleaning procedures at our retail stores, offices, and distribution center, there has been an increased focus on cleaning and sanitizing the more commonly touched hard surfaces, including entrances, bathrooms, fitting rooms, break rooms, conference rooms, phones and registers.
From Enterprise Rent-a-Car, where I often rent when out of town:
Enterprise Rent-A-Car® is offering College Student Travel Assistance in response to the closing of colleges and universities due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.
We are reducing the minimum age and waiving young renter fees for rentals through May 31, 2020, to help students get home safely and ease the burden on families during this time.
• Available to college students 18–24 years of age
• Official student ID must be presented at the time of rental
• Valid on Economy through Fullsize cars, Minivans, Small Pickup Trucks and Cargo Vans
• Valid at U.S. locations only for rentals reserved in advance
• Standard driver and credit requirements apply (excluding minimum age)
• Expires May 31, 2020
A short and sweet note from Barnes and Noble bookstores, which have not been doing well lately, seeing their business decline due to the influence of Amazon. They are still my primary source of the physical books I still buy (I do not buy ebooks-just old-fashioned, I guess):
We’re living through turbulent times together. Our booksellers are your neighbors, your friends and family. Your stories are our stories, and we know how resilient our communities are.
The Booksellers of Barnes & Noble
An email from Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Israel, to whom I donate each year:
In light of the recent directives from Israel’s Ministry of Health in the fight against the Coronavirus (COV-19), Yad Vashem is closed to visitors from Sunday 15 March until further notice.
This one is interesting. I buy tickets to the University Unitarian Church full-length Messiah Sing-and-Playalong each December, through local ticket agency Brown Paper Tickets. They are known for their Social-Justice Warrior characteristics, and each ticket-buyer is offered a choice of charities to which to direct their share of agency profits (they concentrate, obviously, on social-service outfits). Here’s the email I received from them:
To our events community,
For the first time in Brown Paper Tickets’ 20-year history, we are reaching out to our entire community of fans and supporters because artists, performers, and organizers are in crisis. They need our help now.
The impact of COVID-19 on small, community organizations is unprecedented. From independent bookstores, to local theaters, to arts nonprofits, event organizers are in immediate financial danger. For them, every ticket matters – one canceled event could mean the difference between making rent and closing their doors forever.
Our core mission at Brown Paper Tickets is to support events and the people who make events happen. Now, we’re asking you to join us.
Please consider contributing to your local arts organizations during this difficult time.
We currently have over 20,000 small events listed, and more are being added daily – purchasing a ticket to a future event now can have a huge positive impact. Many organizers also accept donations through our platform or on their own websites.
We know that the climate right now is one of uncertainty. Some events may be postponed, some may be canceled, but many will go on. Our commitment to you remains the same: 24/7/365 live support, full refunds for canceled events through the Brown Paper Tickets processor, and an unwavering belief in the power of our community.
And, finally, a missive from one of our favorite local restaurants. We like going to the local Red Robin for a burger, and we know that they got their start in Seattle in the 1950s. Their message was encouraging, since we are not locked down yet, and have been going out to eat when we can:
[Edit: Sorry, I just could not make their email work with all its formatting. Suffice it to day, RR is remaining open for business, with increased cleaning and as usual following all the CDC guidelines. We plan on going there soon.]
Hubby and I are still very well, and living our lives as we have always done. We are still working (he from home, me at the factory), washing our hands more often (even if our skin is beginning to look like a rhinoceros), and keeping up with regular activities. We are not panicking, even if many others are (our local Costco is still out of toilet paper!). And we are grateful that most of our favorite restaurants are still open for business. It is gratifying that the entities I deal with in person and online are doing what they can to support their customers and employees.
We will make it through this crisis, if we keep a level head, follow directions from health authorities, and just keep on keeping on.