Just in time for summer, NYC is opening up to in-person cultural events and experiences a bit more each day. Even art fairs such as Frieze and the Affordable Art Fair have successfully returned, which is great news for art fans! I’ve written previously about the very fun New York Gallery Tours, where local art historian Rafael Risemberg offers small group tours in NYC’s popular Chelsea gallery district, and I’m happy to announce that those tours will expand in size as galleries increase the number of visitors allowed inside their spaces at one time. But for those who aren’t able to get out just yet, and to accommodate folks located outside of NYC who still crave an interactive art experience, Rafael offers his virtual Digital Arts tours, which are streamed live via Zoom. Best of all: there are no Covid restrictions!
Thanks to the successful rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, we can finally start to think about the possibility of traveling during the pandemic. But while the numbers may be down, we still have to remain cautious and take the basic steps (masking up, washing hands frequently, and keeping socially distant) to ensure our health and safety while on vacation. With that in mind, one item you will want to toss into your carry-on is a travel-size bottle of Disinfect & Shield 24 Hour Face Mask/Fabric Sanitizer.
Unlike traditional disinfectants on the market, Disinfect & Shield is non-toxic and completely safe for use around humans, animals, and plants. Disinfect & Shield has been tested to destroy viruses, bacteria, molds, and fungi, including strains of SARS, H1N1, E. Coli, EBOLA and harmful microbes including COVID-19 on contact.
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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this past week that the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) will be a New York City COVID-19 vaccination site beginning immediately. You can now get yourself vaccinated under the monumental Blue Whale model located in the Museum’s iconic Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Just think, you will be the envy of your Instagram feed!
It was actually one year ago yesterday that my employer asked if we wouldn’t mind working from home for “a few weeks” while they got this Covid 19 thing sorted out. Several months later, we were advised to ‘arrange a time’ to come into the building and pack up all of our personal belongs, because we would not be expected to return to the office — pandemic guidelines permitting — until our company relocates to midtown in the summer of 2021. This news felt somewhat surreal, but also pretty sweet; because by June I’d grown very comfortable with hardly ever leaving my house.
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We all miss traveling and hope that by the summer, with active vaccination, we’ll be able to take at least some shorter trips to select destinations. But even today, some people need to take flights for work or drive to visit relatives they care for. Whether you’re planning your vacation, or just want to feel safer on a business trip, there are a few precautions you can take in these difficult times.
Here’s how to travel during a pandemic.
The Basic Rules
When traveling, make sure you learn the destination’s safety requirements, but even if the place, e.g., doesn’t call for wearing a mask at all times, you might want to use common sense and put one on when in busy spots.
Maintaining social distance will remain a good idea for some time even with the pandemic situation getting better, so keep 6 feet apart when possible.
The same goes for avoiding sick people, washing and sanitizing hands, not touching your face, and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
When choosing a hotel or other accommodation, make sure you check their website or call ahead to learn about their safety protocols.
Things to look for are wearing masks and using gloves for staff, advanced cleaning procedures, social distancing, set protocols if someone gets sick, contactless check-in and payment, and hand sanitizer available at all places. It’s also essential to have enough time between guests in the room to get it cleaned and aired properly.
It will not hurt if you disinfect the doorknobs, countertops, faucets, and other high-touch surfaces when you arrive yourself. Make sure you pack alcohol sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, gloves, and masks.
Also, pack enough changes of clothes to avoid bringing in germs from outside. High-quality v-neck shirts, like the ones from Fresh Clean Tees, will be perfect for any trip as they come in multiple colors and go with everything.
Flying can feel a little scary. Even if summer sees things getting much better, it’s smart to take extra precautions. Choose the airlines that are clear about their safety protocols and implement them throughout the entire process from check-in, boarding to the flight itself.
Wear a mask at all times and have a few of them to switch if your flight is longer. Minimize the interaction with other passengers, use hand sanitizers and bring your own food on the plane.
If you’re traveling by car, you might feel safer, and it’s highly recommended if there’s an option to do so. Depending on your location, you might need to be more or less vigilant about minimizing your stops and activities. However, pack all the proper supplies and some food for the road, so you don’t have to stop to eat too often.
If you choose to eat on the road, opt for restaurants that offer a drive-thru, curbside service, or have outdoor seating. We also recommend stocking up on water if you’re driving to remote locations and suggests investing in good quality water cans instead of plastic bottles.
Plan, Plan, Plan
You probably have your usual routines during holidays, but currently, you might need to reconsider some of them. Skip the indoor theme parks, big crowded squares, shops, bars, and clubs. Focus on outdoor activities, nature parks, drive-in movie theaters, outdoor dining, picnicking, and entertainment venues you know have taken all the needed safety measures.
There might be an app available in your destination that updates on the COVID-19 situation, so you can check which areas are safe and which to avoid.
We all want to return to making plans and enjoying our lives, but we still need to be flexible and cancel certain activities if needed. If you don’t feel comfortable, or you learn about health risks in certain destinations, cancel those plans and opt for another activity. Even in cases where you already paid for, e.g., a tour, you should still cancel if you don’t feel safe.
Lastly, if you or your family member feels unwell, just stay home. Don’t forget to check the recommendations of the U.S. CDC before traveling.
In the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown, most of us — not just here in Manhattan but around the globe — were spending close to 24 hours a day in our homes. It was during this time that photos began appearing on the Internet and Instagram depicting places like Times Square and other generally heavily-populated ‘tourist destinations’ in states of complete abandonment. It was as if civilization as we know it had ceased to exist, and our cities been left to the elements. The world was looking more apocalyptic by the day. The only thing missing were the zombies.
I thought of these images immediately when I got an email from Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery about their latest exhibition, Quarantine by artist Scott Listfield — who is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references.
The gallery is walking distance from my home, so I made an appointment to see these enigmatic and compelling paintings in person. I was the only person in the gallery at the time of my visit, which made the experience even more powerful. To say that Scott Listfield’s work encourages imaginative extrapolation is an understatement.
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October is here already — wow! — and this pandemic is still a thing that we have to make allowances for in our daily lives. The safety of ourselves and our families is a consideration for any type of activity planning, and Halloween is fast approaching. We need to keep kids safe, but their social and emotional wellness can also be affected by being unable able to participate in festivities that create so much happiness and sense of connection. How can we celebrate Halloween in the Covid life, you may ask? While door-to-do trick or treating may be off the table, we have a few suggestions for keeping the Halloween spirit alive. Parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) has compiled a list of practical tips addressing fun and creative ways to accommodate a traditional Halloween during this pandemic. Let’s get to it!
Decorate the inside and outside of your house. If you haven’t done this before, this is the year to start. Head to your local TJ Jaxx where they always have an amazing and super affordable selection of Halloween items to decorate your home — some that you will want to leave out year-round!
Create a Month of Halloween countdown. I know that October has already started, but it’s not too late to make a countdown calendar (even if you just do it for the ten days or a week heading up to Halloween) and for each day have a Halloween surprise ready to share with your child. These can include things like a Halloween coloring sheet, candy, puzzles, pencils, stickers, and small toys that you can find at your local Dollar Store. You’d be surprised how far little things like this will go toward raising a child’s spirits especially now.
There are some companies that participate in Themed Activity Boxes. While some require a subscription plan, but you can get one box just for the month of October. It can be fun to open the box and be surprised by what arrives at your door!
Connect with your child’s school and see what the teachers have planned. Volunteer to help your school create some fun Zoom halloween activities. A week of halloween Zoom costume dress up is a great example.
Get Baking! Baking is such a fun, creative way to interact with your child. Get easy recipes Here.
Have a Halloween-themed Movie Night. For kid-friendly Halloween movie suggestions, check out this article.
Host a virtual Pumpkin Carving party via Zoom. The creative possibilities are endless!
Social Distancing is Important
Throw a small Social Distance-Observing House Party. Plan to get together with a small group of family and close friends who are in your ‘pod.’ You could even include a fun Halloween piñata!
Have a safe and fun Halloween, everyone!