By Danielle Madeira
I still can’t believe that it has been 3 years.
Where were you in March of 2020. Is there a moment that stands out in your memory?
I remember March of 2020 like it was yesterday. I was running the Roth Bar for Hauser & Wirth and we were really starting to become a destination to visit in Chelsea. I was told that my barista and I were going to start alternating weeks because of this new virus that was very contagious and starting to kill people. Later on the week we were told that we would just be closing down for two weeks and so many other places were going to do the same. So, I cleared out all of the fridges, but I knew this would blow over and even left behind all non-dairy milks so we could come back to it after our two-week break. Well, that turned into a very long break and quarantine began.
What about the early days of lockdown do you remember most?
During those first few days of lockdown, I treated it more like a vacation staying up all night, binging on TV shows and making cocktails. Then as the weeks began to pass, I started to organize my entire house and clean everything. I was just looking for anything to do after organizing and cleaning everything. The gym had already been closed for a few weeks, so even though it was still cold out I would go outside every day to get out of the house and do stairs. I remember going to the market and shelves being wiped clean of all water, toilet paper, sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Finally, I got a call from GP that I would be working from home and helping out with meals on wheels. Shortly after that was over, I received another call that I would be working at the Covid hotel, so I could finally get out of the house 5 days a week.
Were you with or separated from family?
During quarantine I would go see my family a few times a week, since there was nothing to do. I remember taking my dog to play in my dad’s backyard and all the parks were closed, but I would come up with any reason to get out of the house.
How did you adapt to lockdown? Was there any silver lining?
I don’t know if I ever adapted to lockdown, working in hospitality, and dealing with people every single day, then one day that’s it you are just stuck at home with your family and nobody else. It was definitely very hard to process, but I couldn’t wait to get back to work and do what I love. I was also just itching to get back into the gym, which is my other passion in life. I know a lot of people have continued to work from home and love it, but it was very hard for me.
Has the Covid era affected your work or professional aspirations?
Not much of a change in aspirations, just wanting more for myself.
Do you have any family experiences to share?
I am very lucky to say, that I did not have any family die from Covid and when my family members finally did get the virus, they were okay.
How have we changed as a society – what stands out for you?
I feel that people have become a lot more entitled and think they deserve more, even if it’s not merited. Everyone should want more for themselves, but I come from a home where both parents were immigrants and worked very hard for everything they have now.
What are some of the changes you have made that stick to this day?
What will you remember most about these years?
This is obviously something that we will never forget, but I feel like what I did during Covid will also stay with me forever. During quarantine I helped GP with meals on wheels, I will never forget some of the comments we received from people who were so grateful for what we were doing. Though at times it was crazy, it was worth it after knowing how much we actually did for these people that were unable to leave their homes. I will also never forget my experience working at the Covid hotel; I was so happy to finally be able to leave my home. But the most important thing was again that we were doing something great for people; it made me see how much people can actually come together sometimes for a greater good.
How do you feel about “going back to normal” – do you feel or sense a resistance to it?
I don’t think things will fully be back to normal for a few years. We see now that the economy is struggling, and people continue to want to work from home, which unfortunately, is affecting so many other parts of the economy. I have hope that one day we will be back to the normal life we had before Covid.
How you feel about NYC?
I will always love NYC! This is an amazing place where so many different kinds of people all come together to form a community, you kind find this type of place anywhere else in the world. It may not be perfect or even very clean, but it’s it will always be my city. The one NYC memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life is seeing Times Square completely empty, a most amazing sight that I will probably never see again.