Portraits of the 2020 pandemic: part two

By Chloe Nott

Everyone has a story. And everyone can have an impact. The only way to get through this is by working together and doing our part to help each other out. 

So what is life really like for the people you used to pass on the street? Everyone is struggling in one way or another. Would you risk their safety by not abiding social distancing rules? What are you willing to sacrifice for a stranger? 

Here is part two of our collection of stories from people just like you. Here we tell what it’s like for them to stay at home, get groceries and worry about friends and family.

Inga Thrasher

Inga Thrasher- New Jersey

How has COVID-19 affected you? Both your work life and day to day living.

As of now, three live shows have been cancelled. March 28, April 4 and April 11. I’m lucky that I have been paid for those shows, but I have no knowledge of the remaining three shows in the season. All other live theatrical, television and movie production in NY and NJ were halted on or around March 14. I have no way to earn from that line of work. It isn’t possible to “work from home” when you’re a hairdresser. It’s the ultimate non-social distancing job. At this point one of my colleagues has passed from the virus.

What have you been doing while in isolation?

I’ve been reading and catching up on some organizing. I’m also lucky I have a virtual health and wellness business that has become my only source of income.

Have you had any difficulty getting essentials such as groceries?

Some groceries and essentials have been hard to find. Luckily I had just purchased toilet paper before people went crazy! I’ve limited my shopping to once a week. North New Jersey is very densely populated and I’ve found that you can’t always find exactly the item or brand you’d like. You may have to compromise. The people I’ve encountered have been friendly and kind. Toilet paper and some bleach/cleaning supplies are still in short supply.

Jacob Ridgeway

Jacob Ridgeway-Newcastle, NSW, Australia

How has COVID-19 affected you? Both your work life and day to day living.

Well this year started off really great. I began my Masters of Creative Industries at the University of Newcastle after graduating my Bachelors of Music there also. I knew I wanted more work in arts administration and scored back to back internships with Bangarra Dance Theatre & Sydney Film Festival to compliment what I was studying. I was travelling to Sydney 3-4 times a week and my new single was allowing me to break in the Sydney music scene.

I knew I’d be affected by COVID-19 and slowly all my gigs were cancelled until August. This affected me because music is my love, emotional outlet and I’m blessed to call it work. The only job I have left is working in the Community Music at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music and even that has been made difficult in these circumstances. 

Being Indigenous, connections to family and country give us energy. Having limits on where I can practice culture and connect with family makes it emotionally tough.

In isolation I’ve just been dedicating time to study, creating music and doing small projects around the house. Turning old bookcases into veggie gardens. The only issue with getting groceries has been the greed and attitudes of other people. We need to take what we need and not what we want.

This has made me realize what I’ve been dependent on over time. I’ve been using the time to put life in perspective to be self-sustainable and remain empowered after this is all over. 

Christian Fritz

Christian Fritz- Tamworth, NSW, Australia

How has COVID-19 affected you? Both your work life and day to day living.

The virus has affected my daily life in a few different ways. As a barber I am constantly in contact with people, through conversation and physically when I am providing a service. Our industry is unique in that we have not been deemed ‘non essential’ although the potential risk is high if safe work practices aren’t in place. The shop decided to take some time to assess the situation and a potential solution to how we could effectively cut and stay safe. Thus I was without work for 3 weeks. 

General day to day activities have been put on hold as well for the time being. As an active leader at ‘The Chapel Youth’ and kids pastor at ‘The Chapel’ the virus has meant that we rethink the way we do things, at this stage we are doing it over Zoom meetings.

What have you been doing while in isolation?

I am currently studying a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment, so I have had plenty of time to give that a lot of focus. Exercise is important so a couple of walks each day are needed, this also helps with my mental health too. I have indulged in a bit of Netflix and video games too from time to time.

Have you had any difficulty getting essentials such as groceries?

Shopping is every 2nd to 3rd day as we only go for the essentials and never want to shop for more than we need for a couple of days. No issues personally getting groceries, however I have deescalated a few situations I have witnessed while doing a shop. This is sad as I witnessed Australians coming together through the drought and supporting each other in any way they could through the massive fire devastation we have come out of, and too see Australians argue over a loaf of bread or toilet paper is disheartening.

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