Week Four in the era of coronavirus

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Gravediggers wearing face masks at Woodlawn Cemetery pause from their duties. (Photo by Josh Resnek)

By Josh Resnek

The world turned upside down by the spread of the Coronavirus touches nearly every aspect of our lives.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Funerals as we have known them at all times during our lives have been reduced to private affairs with no more than ten people allowed at interments.

A Tuesday morning tour of the cemetery revealed the fully bloomed Cherry Blossoms on rows of trees and colorful floral bouquets placed on hundreds of grave sites in honor of the traditional weekend Easter celebration, which was also subdued.

Gravediggers filling in a gravesite all wore protective masks and clothing.

Many individual visitors coming to the cemetery to pay their respects in the early morning are wearing masks, and for the most part, stand alone, reciting private prayers in front of granite gravestones or the brass markers which line the rows where the dead rest at Woodlawn.

Woodlawn Cemetery presents a somber but beautiful reality, even during this time of the virus.

Throughout the city, not much has appreciably changed since last week. In this week, the fourth in the age of the coronavirus, the social distancing policies enacted by the city since March 15 appear to be holding firm.

Many restaurants and some stores remain closed. Take-out food is all the law allows for.
Drive through banking causes backups of automobiles at all the city’s major banking institutions.

Forget about banking.

The line at the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive through spreads on to the parkway nearly everyday.

Business in coffee shops and corner stores has declined radically.

Take-out can only contribute so much to survival.

The Lottery is tanking.

So, too have, Scratch Ticket sales.

The Massachusetts Lottery is announcing a rather deep drop-off in sales. Officials there called it a plunge. On April 1, the Lottery announced Scratch ticket sales were down 24% between the first and last week in March and that Keno sales were down 52% during the same period.

In a noteworthy moment, I am driving down Broadway heading toward city hall and of all things, the Dunkin Donuts is closed.

City hall remains closed, obviously.

I pass by several real estate offices. They, too are closed.

Buyers searching for a new home or a multi-family are almost nonexistent as are sales.

Without sales, there are no commissions paid.

Without commissions paid, brokers are in deep trouble, financially.

Conveyancing attorneys and appraisers are temporarily out of business.

Even if you were crazy enough to want to buy a house in today’s marketplace, what bank would lend you the mortgage?

I pass by the Pioneer, the 300 unit giant apartment house on the Revere Beach Parkway.

How many of the 300 tenants paying almost $3000 a month to, most of whom have been laid off or let go from the businesses where they were working, will b paying their rent this month?

Half? A quarter? Less?

Wherever we live, we need to all understand, at least for now, the bottom has fallen out on the value of our homes, our businesses, and our retirement accounts.

Paying for fancy automobiles, boats, second homes, watches, expensive designer clothes, fine jewelry and lavish lifestyles is out the window.

Only the extremely rich do not have to worry – yet even they worry.

Everything is at risk in the closed down economy.

In a fairly new twist, nearly everyone walking on sidewalks in the city’s squares are now wearing face masks.

Not everyone is wearing gloves but they should be.

Inside the many homes and apartment houses I pass, thousands of men and women and younger people are on their computers or watching their flat screens.

Some are continuing to work at home.

Adrien Working at home is the future staring all of us in the eye.

When the virus has been tamed, our work world is going to be vastly changed.

I pass by a half dozen eating places I wouldn’t mind stopping in at but refuse to do so even for takeout.

Easily the most continuing incredible site in this city is the Encore Boston Harbor casino and hotel.

The portable fencing blocking the entrance says it all about Everett and our world: “CLOSED.”

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