I’m happy to go over this with you as many times as needed: Stay the fuck home.
I know — it’s not easy, and it’s your friend’s birthday, so you all want to go out for dinner or drinks. But! No. Again: Stay the fuck home.
Be responsible for yourself, as well as those around you. Have any questions? Read this: “A coronavirus cautionary tale from Italy: Don’t do what we did.’ It’s a must-read, particularly because the author, Mattia Ferraresi, says quote “so here’s my warning for the United States: It didn’t have to come to this.”
As of today, I have heard from two friends in San Francisco that they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, and they are now in self-isolation along with their roommates. They are both young and healthy and are expected to recover from it. I was also checking in on one of my elderly friends, and he said “It’s like ‘Gone With the Wind’, Juanita. Just remember that we will always have Tara.”
We have all (hopefully) learned by now that this virus is now airborne, which means it can spread that much more easily. If someone sneezes or coughs next to you — in any public space — and they don’t cover their mouth and nose, they could be transferring the virus to you. My Frenchie, Jackson, likes to get up in my face and sneeze… because he’s marking me, letting me know he likes me and is claiming me for himself. Which, plot twist: Is what this virus will do to you — hold your immune system hostage.
I’m also a drag queen who does not touch their face after it has been beat. And, if you need to, us a powder puff. So, alas, keep your hands clean; wash them, often. If you don’t know how to properly do that, please watch my favorite video tutorial from Charo on Instagram — “Cuchi, cuchi.”
It’s inevitable that our city will go into quarantine, which will likely happen sooner than you think. Though grocery stores and pharmacies will continue to stay open, no matter the fact. You will most likely see a police presence on the streets to keep the quarantine in place.
States have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders. In California, breaking a quarantine order is a criminal misdemeanor. Yes, you’ll be able to go outside, but you’re going to be asked to avoid crowds… and just people, in general.
I have friends in the health industry, and I am concerned about their safety and the notion that our hospitals will soon be overwhelmed. Just recently, two health care workers at UCSF have tested positive for COVID-19.
Many friends are trying to figure out creative ways to sustain queer nightlife folks. Across the board, this is going to affect everyone’s day-to-day life. Mayor London Breed on Friday enacted a moratorium on evictions of tenants who are unable to pay rent due to impacts from the coronavirus.
There are many flaws in this line of thinking. Suffice to say that an eviction moratorium isn’t enough, especially if you’re just going to raise rents when this crisis has passed. And then evict people, should they not be able to pay it back.
The solution? Blanketed rent forgiveness for people who are losing their jobs or unable to afford their rents because of the coronavirus. That’s it; it’s that simple. But, I’m afraid such financial generosity isn’t going to happen to me and so many of my friends. At the end of this, we could possibly face evictions.
( For context: The City has also suspended all power and water shutoffs due to delinquent payments.)
Locally representatives from San Francisco groups — Fog City Pack, Polyglamorous, Jolene’s Bar, DAD, Bay Area Leather Alliance, and the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR ) — and I have come together to form The Queer Nightlife Community Fund. Within the next 48 hours, it will go live, and those funds will be used help to provide economic relief to workers in the Bay Area nightlife industry that are eligible to receive support such as bartenders; entertainers, DJs, dancers, drag performers; artists such as production and lighting designers; producers or organizers of nightlife events for as long as the current crisis continues.
This past weekend looked super cozy according to people's social media outlets. Everyone I knew was franticly finishing up their grocery shopping, stocking up on toilet paper, and busy making plans to spend the weekend indoors — cooking and posting videos of themselves doing domestic things that they don’t normally do. The tough part of this moving forward will be having to change up our daily routines to find peace with ourselves, in lieu of going out.
I’m very fortunate that I love just living with Jackson — sans people. Though, I understand it’s not easy for many members of our community to do that: Enjoy time, alone.
We have been raised in bars, nightclubs, and on dance floors. But we will be going into crisis mode very soon, and we are going to need to figure out how to entertain and support each other when that happens. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom just ordered the shutdown of all bars, nightclubs, and brewpubs in the entire state. When this is all over I promise you one helluva a huge party.
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