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  1. #76
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    Since it's come up, some thoughts on the retail food industry (I work for a food manufacturer so we support US retail and foodservice companies):

    The main purposes of limiting hours at the grocery store are: enable employees to rotate in & out (remember, many schools are closed, kids are home); stores can deep clean the shelves, contact surfaces, etc; and so the stores can actually restock the shelves. It's not just about customers - there are folks on the other side of the equation.

    Some stores are putting in place limits to the number of customers in the store at once; controlling how lines form outside; offering delivery to your car door; special shopping hours for only seniors, etc. in addition to all the home & 'to your car' delivery systems out there.

    The US retail grocery system is set up to handle known major surges (like holidays) and there are plans for regional disaster events (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow, etc) both before and after. It's not set up to simultaneously get surge buying everywhere for a couple weeks, so it will take a bit of time for the supply chains to catch up. This is as if multiple areas were hit with unexpected tornadoes simultaneously.

    We have plenty of food in the US system, it will just take a bit to get it all deployed and continuously deployed. I personally believe that people are panic buying to give themselves a sense of control given how ambiguous the time frame is and how anxiety producing this is for most people.
    For myself, I use that nervous energy to clean my apartment, sort through stuff I need to purge, and exercise (or try to) Smilie

    I think everyone can access this article as most coronavirus stories are not behind a paywall:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/15/b...shortages.html

    Hopefully the folks who are buying from anxiety will take a step back, a deep breath, and calm down a bit.


    ETA: Oh, and note that 'food' (and supplies in general) doesn't necessarily include every obscure flavor of your favorite chip brand, bleach scent, or whatever. Factories will (and have already) focus on the primary products and package formats to reduce time lost to changeovers until the surge is past.
    Last edited by G42; 03-17-2020 at 11:40 AM.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  2. #77
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
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    I should revise what I said earlier, as people are actually sewing masks for medical personnel now. Quite amazing how fast things are changing.

    Quote Originally Posted by xyppy View Post
    So...since this thread is about covid-19 and masks as much as it is about going to Europe, what do you all think about homemade masks? If this is considered a thread hijack, I apologize.

    As part of my de-stressing, this weekend I took my sewing machine out along with scraps of fabric and after several pattern iterations came up with a pattern that fits comfortably and snug against my face. It's lined with quilt batting so there are three layers. and is attached behind the head with 2 bands of 1/4" elastic. I made 6 of them and after making a few I got it down so I could make one in about 35 minutes. With all the spare time, fabric and elastic I have, I could make probably a dozen a week without making me feel too stressed. (I'm also going to be working from home.) Think I should go for it? I'd probably give them to my neighbors. But I don't want to make them and give them away if they might cause more harm than good.
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    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
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  3. #78
    Forum Member xyppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    I should revise what I said earlier, as people are actually sewing masks for medical personnel now. Quite amazing how fast things are changing.
    Cancel or go to Europe in April-pile-o-cut-fabric-masks-png

    Thanks @bchaplin !

    I've not been deterred from sewing masks. This week I ironed and cut fabric so I can sew all weekend. The picture is of all the cut fabric I will make into masks. Not sure I'll be able to sew all of the fabric into masks this weekend but am going to try! Apparently a Kleenex liner inside fabric masks really increases their effectiveness.

    My weeknights will be for prepping fabric and weekends will be for sewing until I get too exhausted or my supplies are exhausted.

    With the spread of the virus here in NYC I feel like I need to do what I can. Yesterday I heard hacking right outside my apartment door so it feels like the virus is lurking at my doorstep just waiting for me to let it in. The interruption in basic healthcare here in NYC is tremendous. All resources are focused on covid-19.
    Spring

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Since it's come up, some thoughts on the retail food industry (I work for a food manufacturer so we support US retail and foodservice companies):

    The main purposes of limiting hours at the grocery store are: enable employees to rotate in & out (remember, many schools are closed, kids are home); stores can deep clean the shelves, contact surfaces, etc; and so the stores can actually restock the shelves. It's not just about customers - there are folks on the other side of the equation.

    Some stores are putting in place limits to the number of customers in the store at once; controlling how lines form outside; offering delivery to your car door; special shopping hours for only seniors, etc. in addition to all the home & 'to your car' delivery systems out there.

    The US retail grocery system is set up to handle known major surges (like holidays) and there are plans for regional disaster events (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow, etc) both before and after. It's not set up to simultaneously get surge buying everywhere for a couple weeks, so it will take a bit of time for the supply chains to catch up. This is as if multiple areas were hit with unexpected tornadoes simultaneously.

    We have plenty of food in the US system, it will just take a bit to get it all deployed and continuously deployed. I personally believe that people are panic buying to give themselves a sense of control given how ambiguous the time frame is and how anxiety producing this is for most people.
    For myself, I use that nervous energy to clean my apartment, sort through stuff I need to purge, and exercise (or try to) Smilie

    I think everyone can access this article as most coronavirus stories are not behind a paywall:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/15/b...shortages.html

    Hopefully the folks who are buying from anxiety will take a step back, a deep breath, and calm down a bit.


    ETA: Oh, and note that 'food' (and supplies in general) doesn't necessarily include every obscure flavor of your favorite chip brand, bleach scent, or whatever. Factories will (and have already) focus on the primary products and package formats to reduce time lost to changeovers until the surge is past.
    I work for Whole Foods. This is it exactly. We have everything first thing in the morning. People are just buying it all before customers come in the afternoon. There is no reason to hoard. It just makes people feel better to have lots of food on hand at home. We have begun to limit quantities of items and have reduced our hours and have the store open for seniors only before the store officially opens to the general public. Everyone stay safe and only buy what you need for 1-2 weeks at a time.

  5. #80
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    You probably already know, but as of March 17, the EU has pretty much shut its borders to foreign entry. I doubt this will be lifted in time for your trip, and unfortunately, even if you could make it to Europe, more and more countries are in some form of lock-down.

    Here in France, only essential services are allowed to be open to the public. Schools, museums, restaurants, cafés, non-essential shops are all closed. People are still allowed to go to work, as long as a proper distance can be maintained between people, but small businesses have mostly shut down, and more and more people are telecommuting if they can. Ordinary people are not allowed to go outside except for one of five well-defined reasons. Even then, they have to carry a self-made declaration of why they are out, and are forbidden from congregating. In other words, I doubt you could get into Europe at the moment, and if you did, there wouldn't be much to do. Some hotels are still open, but many are beginning to be commandeered to house people under quarantine, etc.

    Since we are still seeing an acceleration of cases all over Europe, things will get worse before they get better, and the crisis is expected to last for a while yet.

    so again, I'm afraid the trip is not going to happen. Please re-schedule it for a happier time, I promise you won't regret it. Once people can travel safely again, tourists will be welcomed (its a huge part of the economy in many places!).

    For everyone reading this, please don't take it as alarmist or pessimistic: people are mostly bucking up and doing the right thing. Every night at 20:00 we all open the windows and clap to show our support for the medical personnel who are bearing the brunt of the crisis. With so much less traffic on the roads, it is amazing how many birds I can hear in the middle of a big city. And unlike the hurricanes, ice storms and earthquakes I have lived through in the US, there is hot water, internet, fresh bread (this is France, after all, and the bakeries are all still open) and a roof over our heads. I worry about myself and even more about loved ones, but we can deal with this.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katsage View Post
    I work for Whole Foods. This is it exactly. We have everything first thing in the morning. People are just buying it all before customers come in the afternoon. There is no reason to hoard. It just makes people feel better to have lots of food on hand at home. We have begun to limit quantities of items and have reduced our hours and have the store open for seniors only before the store officially opens to the general public. Everyone stay safe and only buy what you need for 1-2 weeks at a time.
    The Trader Joe's near me very quickly started enforcing a max number of folks in the store, spaced-out line outside, and 'limit two of anything' since that was easy for everyone to remember - seems to working fine.
    My Whole Foods is a bit further away, so I haven't gotten over there in a while, but the WF corporate emails have talked about the same measures you say.

    I may take folks conscious effort to do, but as you say - only buy what you need and will actually eat/use in the next week or two. If we respond with fear and scarcity, we will create scarcity. If we respond with thoughtfulness, compassion, and restraint, we'll have enough resources for everyone.

    Stay well my TB community - don't forget to exercise and move (at home or distanced outside) as that also has a great affect on our mental sense of well being.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  7. #82
    Forum Member GrussGott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xyppy View Post
    I've not been deterred from sewing masks. This week I ironed and cut fabric so I can sew all weekend. The picture is of all the cut fabric I will make into masks. Not sure I'll be able to sew all of the fabric into masks this weekend but am going to try! Apparently a Kleenex liner inside fabric masks really increases their effectiveness.
    So glad you're doing this! Yes, any type of mask can help protect you, in fact 100% cotton is surprisingly effective!

    The reason is because of how air flows through a confined space: if there are a bunch of particles all floating around (dust, virus, etc), on inhale, they all try to rush in through limited holes and get jammed at the door. It's just like a large crowd pushing through 3 side-by-side doors: there's plenty of room if only one person tries to get through each door at a time, but if 50 do, likely none will get through (before exhale anyway). Further, the likelihood of the average person being where there's few enough small particles to prevent jam-up is small. That said, almost all fabric masks are imperfect, and there's no guarantee of full protection short of a respirator, but something is better than nothing!

    The original reporting about masks being ineffective is based on the virus particle size being smaller than a given opening - which is true - but then the physics take over to provide some protection. Even N95 masks will only stop 95% of particles and the openings are larger than the covid virus, so if there's only a few virus particles in the air right in front of the mask, it's probably getting through.

    We're all learning WAY more about masks than we ever wanted to know ... if any of you know anyone that has masks to donate, please send them to The National COVID-19 Medical Equipment Clearinghouse | Project N95

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katsage View Post
    I work for Whole Foods. This is it exactly. We have everything first thing in the morning. People are just buying it all before customers come in the afternoon. There is no reason to hoard. It just makes people feel better to have lots of food on hand at home. We have begun to limit quantities of items and have reduced our hours and have the store open for seniors only before the store officially opens to the general public. Everyone stay safe and only buy what you need for 1-2 weeks at a time.
    It probably makes people feel better to have months worth of food at home because once hospitals are full (will be happening in many larger cities in the next 3 weeks), getting the virus could be a death sentence for many people if medical care is no longer available, so even going to get groceries at that point will be an extremely risky proposition. Once hospitals are full, all bets are off, and even as a relatively healthy person I wouldn’t want to risk being around potentially infected people at places like grocery stores.

  9. #84
    Forum Member PaulT00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olsonnet View Post
    It probably makes people feel better to have months worth of food at home because once hospitals are full (will be happening in many larger cities in the next 3 weeks), getting the virus could be a death sentence for many people if medical care is no longer available, so even going to get groceries at that point will be an extremely risky proposition. Once hospitals are full, all bets are off, and even as a relatively healthy person I wouldn’t want to risk being around potentially infected people at places like grocery stores.
    I think that's a very accurate summation. My partner and I are definitely in the "at risk" group, my other half has COPD and heart problems and would probably be looking at the "death sentence"... so I kind of have to stay at home too rather than risk bringing the virus home. Grocery stores may become the next infection hotspots... I last went shopping last Saturday (before the UK went into lockdown) and won't be going out for the foreseeable future. But even before that I'd cancelled all my scheduled trips to the main office in London going back weeks now - precisely to reduce the risk from going to a location with known COVID-19 cases in the area.

    The difficulty is that existing infrastructure for home delivery is just.not.coping with the demand either - which makes it very difficult for currently uninfected people, who have to self-isolate because of serious health risk, to get necessities without taking that risk of a death sentence.
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  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katsage View Post
    I work for Whole Foods. This is it exactly. We have everything first thing in the morning. People are just buying it all before customers come in the afternoon. There is no reason to hoard. It just makes people feel better to have lots of food on hand at home. We have begun to limit quantities of items and have reduced our hours and have the store open for seniors only before the store officially opens to the general public. Everyone stay safe and only buy what you need for 1-2 weeks at a time.
    I have my mother who is 82 with me. We've been in for almost 4 weeks now - I've been keeping her in before the "lockdowns". I started early and filled the freezer and bought extra non perishable canned goods. I've also been getting some grocery deliveries through FreshDirect (a NY/Phila thing) and Amazon Fresh - more of my staples than whole foods.

    The intent isn't to hoard. The intent is to if at all possible NOT to go out, and secondarily to limit how many things have to come in and be wiped down etc.

  11. #86
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    Clearly, there are people that need to buy things in quantity to prevent health issues caused by leaving home and potentially being exposed to the virus. I'm guessing, but I imagine the vast majority of the purchases are from people who don't have this very serious and justifiable reason to buy in quantity and simply want to purchase things before they are sold out, feel comfort in being over-prepared, and/or are simply responding to nearly every news story mentioning scary words such as "virus".

    When there is a snow storm coming to NYC, I see people all the time buying massive quantities of water and canned goods. This trend has worsened significantly over the past 20 years. It simply does not snow enough in NYC to shut down the city for multiple days and if anything, it snows much less now than 20 years ago. If people behave like that for a snow storm, I could see how these same people would just buy whatever they can even if they don't need the supplies.

  12. #87
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    Random memory:

    When I lived in Baltimore back in the late 90's, there was a lottery scratch off ticket called 'Bread, Milk, and Toilet Paper' because that's what everyone cleared off the shelves when a snowstorm was forecast to hit... I remember the news casts showing the empty shelves and the scratch tickets.
    I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

  13. #88
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Since we're making masks, people are sending us articles about masks and we're reading them. Here are two articles I read today. I know this is a controversial topic; however, I felt this information could be worth sharing for those of us who already have homemade masks and could be wearing them anytime we're in public.

    More Americans Should Probably Wear Masks for Protection
    Experts have started to question whether masks may offer at least some protection to healthy individuals and essential workers.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/h...ace-masks.html

    Not wearing masks to protect against coronavirus is a ‘big mistake,’ top Chinese scientist says
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020...scientist-says
    Last edited by Darcy; 03-28-2020 at 11:58 AM.
    Have a question? @Darcy (to make sure I see it)

    Current carry: testing new potential materials in the form of Original Large Shop Bags.

  14. #89
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    The virus laden droplets also can enter through the eyes, so another layer of protection would be wearing glasses/goggles and a hat.

  15. #90
    Forum Member xyppy's Avatar
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    I'm giving up on making cute masks. I just ordered king size sheets. And I've changed to a different pattern which allows me to make them faster. I'm hoping to be able to supply many people in my apartment building and all of my friends and work colleagues who live within walking or biking distance from me with 2 masks each. The curve in NYC is not flattening.
    Spring

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