Monday, December 27, 2021

Wash, rinse, repeat: Pandemic pandemonium in NYC

The COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us, but location can make a difference in the effect(s). One effect that's unique to New York City is the effect on Broadway and off-Broadway shows--the current COVID surge (which involves mostly the Omicron variant) has forced shows to close, re-open, and close again as breakthrough cases of COVID are discovered among the cast, crew, and/or staff. In one recent case, a performance was actually canceled after the audience was already seated.  And some shows have closed altogether, giving up on any hope for a normal "run."
Shul shut-downs or near-shut-downs are a sure thing around here. One large Reform synagogue with a sanctuary that seats over a thousand people is currently limiting in-person attendance at services to 125 people. A large Conservative synagogue that also seats over a thousand people is currently limiting in-person attendance to 50 people, with a warning to dress warmly because the windows in the sanctuary will be open. Another synagogue that seats over a thousand has capped in-person attendance at 18. All three synagogues require proof of vacciation and masking for attendees. Any hopes that my husband, who's our synagogue's "acting rabbi," may have had about re-opening our building for in-person services have been put on hold for the foreseeable future--since our sanctuary seats only around 200 and our congregation consists almost entirely of people over 50, it's just plain safer for us to stay on Zoom.
We've also been disappointed to see that two indoor Israeli folk dance sessions in Manhattan that just re-opened (to vaxxed, masked, and limited-sized crowds) around October or so have now been closed again. Our dancin' days are done--again. 😢
And any delusions that we may have had about celebrating the first week of January in a restaurant are toast--even take-out won't work because we can't get to our favorite kosher restaurants without getting on a subway, and we don't want to take a subway or bus at the moment unless we need to do so. Yes, we're among the many residents of NYC who don't own a car. (And yes, we *always* wear masks when on public transportation, and in every other public indoor space. We mask up even when all we're doing is taking the garbage to the compactor room down the hall.)
What's it like for you?
P.S. I just walked over to the local public library to return and borrow some books, and got a sad surprise--the local branch is closed until further notice due to staff members testing positive for COVID-19. Looks like I'm finally going to have to learn how to borrow eBooks.


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