San Francisco Stores Boarded Up on COVID crisis

Life in times of COVID-19 in the Bay Area

The coronavirus pandemic is causing the whole globe to shut down and shelter in place, but it won’t stop me from enjoying every single day of my J1 internship in the US!

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you must have noticed a trend: I like to travel to new places, eat good local food and admire architecture and nature. While I would love to perpetuate that trend adding one more blog posts along those lines, this month we’ll have to make an exception.

As you know, the Coronavirus pandemic has now fully spread around the world, with a particularly steep acceleration rate observed after the first week of March. As the count of infected rocketed, entire cities have gone into lockdown around the globe in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, and San Francisco has not been an exception.

In fact, San Francisco, along with other 5 counties, was one of the first cities in the United States to order its residents to shelter in place, a measure that forces all non-essential business to close, and strongly encourages everyone to stay at home unless absolutely unavoidable. This extreme and unprecedented measures have pushed a lot of businesses to lay off a lot of their employees to preserve their cash and minimize their costs (the featured image of the post shows a usually very busy area all boarded up on Market Street) – a measure that has also affected many J1 holders.

I have been lucky to be carrying my internship at a well-funded company that is able to survive through these hard times. I am currently working from home, ordering groceries online for home delivery and trying to go out as little as possible, so I consider that I am in a pretty good position. On top of this, my host company has done an excellent job in continuing my training process despite the difficulties. They have been very quick to implement new processes, set up the right channels of communication and try to support everyone as best they can while still keeping the team spirit alive.

To give an example of this, a few weeks after the shelter-in-place order was issued, the company met one of the big milestones it had previously set. To celebrate, they sent everyone a little DIY cocktail kit with all ingredients necessary to put together a mixed drink. We then all joined a video-meeting and celebrated together, embracing the newly coined concept of “virtual happy hour”. These are definitely weird times, but there is no reason to also make them be boring times!

My internship is due to end in 3 months and, until then, I won’t let anything -not even a global pandemic- make me stop learning!

Alexandru Boboc


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