Washing our hands, and recounting the days as Tampa Bay starts to reopen

Editor's note.

click to enlarge Washing our hands, and recounting the days as Tampa Bay starts to reopen
Sandra Döhnert Bourne

In an interview, CL asked St. Petersburg artist Derek Donnelly (pictured) how the pandemic and this extended period of quarantine has changed him.

“Outside of washing my hands too much and not knowing what day it is sometimes, I haven’t changed much during all of this,” he said.

In some ways, I wish I could sympathize with that part of his extended sentiments, which you can read along with input from Sebastian Coolidge and Chad Mize. I’ve certainly lost track of what week it is over the last three months (records say it’s the 10th week since CL had its newsroom rocked by the coronavirus fallout, by the way), but I never forget what day of the week it is. Our print deadlines and the minutiae that gets us to those weekly markers keeps me on my toes when it comes to that.

And while there’s no shortage of coronavirus data to make your head spin (52,255 cases, including 2,338 deaths; 509 new cases on the Tuesday after Memorial Day; 31.4% of available hospital beds statewide), the state keeps inching closer to being completely open for business.

You might not be going to a Live Nation concert any time soon, but there are signs that our lives are starting to more closely resemble what they were like in the before time. Breweries with food trucks or restaurants are welcoming people back to their tasting rooms, and Kitty Daniels—a mainstay on Tampa Bay’s jazz scene—is back at her regular Donatello gig. Both Joe Biden and Trump are even competing to see who can say the most absurd shit. CL has even welcomed two summer interns, Chloe Greenberg and Christopher Cann, who‘ve been virtually working with our Digital Editor, Colin Wolf, for the last two weeks.

In our chat, Donnelly also urged everyone to “keep safe, sane and logical as we start the reopening process.” No one, save for #plandemic truthers who refuse to wear masks, can disagree with that. “I am very confident that we will overcome soon,” Donelly added. I can’t wish for that more.

It’s been so hard to read and write about all the death. In many ways, it’s been harder to learn about my friends being on food stamps and tough to think that service industry folks are essentially choosing between potentially getting sick and potentially starving (tip ‘em handsomely).

Still, like it does every week, Tampa Bay finds a way to lift us up. Folks have started to help make our editorial department more self-sustaining by donating to our Press Club, people keep making art out of the things they love. Cory Robinson, even lent his talents to Anna Bryson’s cover story about what school kids might expect to see come fall (Bryson is a past intern, Robinson is one of our favorite local artists—double win).

So, yeah, we can’t seem to shake the despondency of life in the daily news cycle, and the threat coronavirus is to the most vulnerable in our community, but we’re happy to report on these new signs of life—even if there’s a countless number of days until it’s all remotely close to over.

Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.

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Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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