Hope and a bit of certainty: face shields from a boat cover manufacturer

1930s houses with spring trees and light in Salt Lake City, Utah
March 3, 2020, Salt Lake City. Photo Catherine Arnold

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve joined others in a mix of thoughts. They’ve included vigilance in the face of an invisible threat, concern about infecting others with an unpredictable virus, worry for ourselves, and fresh alarm about the governing bodies. As a result, I’ve landed on this approach to the pandemic: Wash my hands, see a few people at a six-foot distance, pet animals, do tai chi from YouTube (faves include Leia Cohen, Don Fiore, and Mimi Kuo-Deemer, especially their subscriptions and online events), renew my Audible subscription to include a meditation audiobook — and, last, but very much not least, keep busy with projects and stories about people doing things in a different and helpful way.

It does a lot for me. That said, these things go day by day, and I can understand that others are struggling with anxiety and may be working out how to move forward or make an income while sheltering in place. Others work in an essential job — providing groceries, say, or on the front lines of healthcare, like a good friend who works as a nurse in another state. In that case, it’s imperative that we support stores providing sick leave and more protections to employees; and that we take better care of our providers. I’m encouraged by the people sewing or 3D-printing protective masks, as well as a story I’ll mention farther into this post.

But in general, producing ideas is my coping mechanism to combat anxiety. What’s yours? On the idea side, I talked today with a restauranteur acquaintance about doing a subscription series of short videos on cooking and his expertise areas; with a small bookstore owner about a similar project; and — for a little pick-me-up, I thought of checking out again one of performer Chris Mann’s recent song parodies that do such a great (and hilarious) job of encouraging social distancing. I hope Mann, too, will stream a few concerts with an entry fee. I’d pay him.

And here’s the other thing I was going to mention. I’m grateful to local journalism — in this case, the Salt Lake Tribune, which became a nonprofit last fall — for bringing me news of the local area in this interesting piece about SugarHouse Industries, a manufacturer of awnings and boat covers that recently retrofitted a factory floor and began mass producing vinyl face shields and masks for healthcare use. The company has orders to make 10,000 shields, according to this article.

I’m pretty encouraged by that news. By the way, if you’d like to support journalism, please keep in mind that we align with local workers when we pay for subscriptions to our local newspaper, public-radio and public-television stations, and when we contribute to alternative-weeklies and other media. Please consider a subscription to one or more of those news providers in your area, or supporting a favorite independent publication.

A couple other things:

Please think about contacting your elected representatives and/or filling out this petition urging Congress to pass proposed legislation (the CARES Act) to relieve small businesses right away.

Also, you may want to ask your state representatives to follow the lead of Minnesota and Vermont and designate grocery workers as emergency personnel, giving them the same protections and benefits as first responders and health workers.

Are you hearing inspiring stories lately? Or would you like to see change in other areas and have suggestions? Email at cb daht arnold at gmail and let me know!

Ready to hear more? Check out some of my work in environment and public health, journalism, technical reports and white papers, or editing.

*Sometimes I share products, courses, and books that have made a real impression on me and perhaps changed how I do things. In some cases, I may be an affiliate and may be compensated if you click through and take action on those links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.