As the deadly COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, local residents awoke to massive shutdowns, including local schools, after a weekend of social distancing.
Early Monday afternoon, City Manager Steve Mermell declared a local emergency closing gyms, bars and private clubs. Sit down service in restaurants was also prohibited, but take out services are still available.
On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for bars to close across the state and restaurant owners to cut their capacity in half.
As of Monday, 173,800 people, according to official worldwide counts, are infected with the virus and at least 7,281 people have died.
Meanwhile, locals told Pasadena Now they were adjusting to the changes.
“My wife and I are both approaching 80,” said Pasadena resident Doug Kranwinkle. “I’ve had severe heart problems the last year or so, which we dealt with. So we’re being extra careful because people in my particular demographic are in real danger from this. [We’re] more likely to die than most are. So we’re being careful.”
According to Kranwinkle, he and his wife are washing their hands a lot.
One of the highest risk groups is elderly people with underlying health conditions.
“I’m constantly monitoring the advisories issued by the city on Facebook,” said former Mayor Bill Paparian, who received a kidney transplant last year. “I’ve stopped going to the gym and exercise at home. I frequently wash my hands with antibacterial soap.”
Paparian said he wears an N95 mask in public and carries hand gel and antibacterial wipes at all times. He’s also practicing social distancing, and canceled an important public appearance at the Pasadena Film Festival on Friday afternoon.
So far only two Pasadena residents has tested positive for the virus. Tests are available through a primary care facility.
However, less than 20,000 nationwide people have been tested for the virus.
On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom called on seniors to self-quarantine and the CDC urged people not to gather in groups of 50 or more.
“Things for our family have been hard to process from whether to stay at home or go to work?” said one business owner who did not wish to be identified. “Should we buy more food, or do we have enough? How will we pay our bills if some in our family are not working?
“These have been hard conversations to have and I think primarily we are staying calm and know we don’t have perfect answers, nor all the answers.
We do know that we need to prioritize focusing on how we can support each other and care for each other. We are people of faith and believe that we will get through these difficult times and we need to stay focused on the most important thing, each other.”
Last week, Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent closed Pasadena’s public schools, leaving parents wondering how 16,000 children would get meals and educational instruction.
The district continues to provide meals for local students.
“I think it’s clearly stressful, especially on the kids,” said local parent Patric Shopbell. “They’re worrying about a lot of different things. On the one side they’re really disappointed at the canceling of all their activities and things. But on the other hand, I think they’re also just a bit worried because it’s a lot of uncertainty and a lot of things. They just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Other parents said they thought the district made the right move and had laptops ready to go for continued instruction.
“This is a scary situation. You see things like this happen in the movies but you would never ever think that it would actually come to light and be a day-to-day thing, but on a positive note it will help us as a society prepare in the future for such things like this,” said Natasha Gardner, whose son attends John Muir. “This is something that you would never think will be a global epidemic when it comes to sickness, so hopefully they will put more precautions and take health care seriously in the United States now.”