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Wednesday, April 1, 2020


OK Folks.  Lets Talk.   We need to put an end to “Social Distancing” during this time of worldwide Pandemic.  No. I am not crazy, and I am not advocating a worldwide hug-fest. But we don’t need “Social Distancing”….We need Physical Distancing. Words have meaning, so let’s start calling it what it is, and leave the cutsie phrases for things without such overreaching consequences, shall we?   We don’t need “Social Distancing”. What we need in this time of isolation is “Social Connection”, “Social Closeness”, and, dare I say it…“Social Intimacy”. At a time when people are scared, deeply distressed over an uncertain future, connecting with others socially becomes more important than ever.  One of the best ways to get and maintain social closeness in these challenging times is through SecondLife.

Rarely in the history of the world have we ever faced so ominous a threat to the economic and physical health of our residents. So, for today’s article we asked SL residents from around the RL world to tell us of the effect COVID-19 has had in their lives.  Folks we spoke to for this article include:

Nicole Kovarova – Czech Republic
Zoe – Bosnia 
Fokan – Italy 
Amanda – Norway
Char Steele – Michigan, USA
Reagan DiStefano: – Texas, USA
Rose Krimau – Catalan, Spain
Aylla Clarrington  – South Africa
Robb Larkham – Arizona, USA
Bonnie – Israel
Vale – Uruguay 

Josh Bellic (JB):  How have you been affected by the COVID-19 Virus?

Nicole Kovarova: I cannot go to my university because it is closed.
 Zoe: Two weeks ago we organized in a way so we could work from home. We are all aware that we don’t have enough capacity to take care of all infected people at once.  Our hospitals and intensive care units don’t have enough beds. As a rule, we tend to be a pretty disciplined people. No one goes outside. We respect all our government has said so far.  We’re helping each other to minimize the spread of the virus. 

Fokan: Actually whether we have the COVID virus or not, we stay home.  This is affecting everyone. Life in Italy is pretty much the same for everyone.  Last week, because of the restrictions, you know, only a list of specific companies can still work.  This is really difficult to manage. We stay home. I have a family. There are people that will really suffer through this.  It could be a hard restriction on all our lives.

Amanda: I`m working 15-18 hours a day! Stupid me. I offered a way to provide Plexiglas screening to a grocery store chain in Norway. To protect people in the stores, by building Plexiglas shields around the cash register operators. They hang from the ceiling on wires.  There are many things I miss as a result of the current situation. I`m not allowed to visit my mother, or go to my cabin on weekends, or visit friends, or go shopping in Sweden, or even to go anywhere I like to go. And this Easter coming up will present a special challenge.

Char Steele: Ah yes. Well I have been laid off for an indefinite period of time, especially the rest of the 2019/2020 school year. Because of the layoffs with my family, we have had to move just to make it. So we even moved to a different state.
Here we are not allowed in the cities unless necessary. The police are making people return home.  Unemployment insurance is not enough to get by….small town…rural area. I am an Elementary School teacher, and they want to switch all classes to online delivery.  That will be a chore. I hear they are graduating medical students early but i can neither confirm nor I do hope it gets better before we hit a depression era.  That’s what is scary - too many people out of work….no food in the stores…and people willing to do anything to feed their families. A friend of our neighbor has already experienced such things.  Her door was kicked in for her stuff. She lives in a good part of the city too. But people know they are well stocked there. It scared us. We had to leave. 

Reagan DiStefano: The changes I am making as a result of the virus are I am now washing my hands all day long it seems....staying away from other people when I can, other than the ones that live with me.  I am disinfecting everything. I have had to stop some things as well: I stopped going out to dinner…visiting with friends, and hugging people that i care about. All of that has stopped. I work for a Geriatrics Practice that is completely mobile.  Think of it as a Visiting Dr. They can no longer go to patient’s homes... everything is a Telehealth call. But as I've heard that two retirement facilities have gone into quarantine because of 6 cases... I'm worried. That’s not good. It means loved ones are being brought home, and no more new patients for us.  So, with less and less work for me to have, I could be laid off.

Rose Krimau: I've been home for 17 days, working from home too, along with all of my family. When I am not working I read, watch some shows on my tablet, exercise a little, log on SL,...Have you ever thought you would be asked not to leave your home for weeks?  I find it especially cruel the way people are dying, alone, because they need to be isolated from their families who cannot be there to comfort them while they are in hospital,...and there can't even be a goodbye or a funeral. When someone is taken to hospital, you don't know if you'll ever see them again and they must feel so scared and lonely without the family visiting

Aylla Clarrington:  Well, my company does cylinder head reconditioning and repair and we can't work now so no work =  no pay and I had to send the 2 workers on unpaid leave.

Robb Larkham:  Here in Arizona we are actively pursuing "social distancing" to try to attenuate the impact of the virus. In that other reality they call real life I am working at teaching my classes online to assure that students can make it through the semester with as little stress as possible. 

Bonnie: This is really hard on me. I have two kids at home and their father has terminal cancer so he can't leave his house. I have no idea if they will ever see him again.  It makes me extra cautious about leaving my home because I am about to be the only parent for my children. It hasn’t affected my job that much yet. I am working on a high tech project from my home, but I usually meet colleagues for coffee outside my house. Now we drink coffee together on Hangouts and Skype.

Vale: I don’t go out anymore.  I know some people are affected and are taking precautions like using masks. We have made changes in how we work.  In fact we are working in shifts these days. At home, residents are coming together to support each other. People sing from their terraces to entertain others.  And everyday at 8:00 at night people come out of their homes to applaud those who go out to work to help others, such as medical personnel, etc., and others who have to go out and be exposed so they can help others.   I saw a nurse going to work and all her neighbors applauded her. It is very motivating, after all...a way of saying thank you.

JB:  Are you staying at home? 

Nicole: I spend more time at home now. The Law requires it.  It has lasted two weeks now, but it will probably continue until the end of April.

Aylla:  Yes,  we have to work from home.

Fokan: This makes me, and others like me, spend time with family.  I work in warehousing. I work with anything in there. I cannot telework. I can drive or I stay in warehouse.  Either way, I need to go to work.

Reagan:: out of 25 of us.. 6 are still coming to the office. I am still driving to work. I have my own office and I don't really have much interaction with others

Bonnie: Yes. I stay at home because I am afraid to leave my house.  I was at the supermarket and a woman refused to respect my space.  I am afraid of people like that.

JB:  What do you do to keep busy?

Nicole: I study and work at home.  I am a student and I am business law

Zoe: I am working from home. I am an economist in an engineering company, and my daughter has an online school.

Aylla:  Alan works in the garage with his wood hobby and I do things around the house and washing and that kind of daily things.

Robb: Staying at home provides me more time to read, rediscover old pleasures like Scrabble and work on all those projects at home that are always on the back burner. 

Bonnie: I am guiding the kids to learn how to code and making sure they learn lots of math and practice music. I talk and chat with friends, work on business networking on Hangouts Meet, through Lunchclub and LinkedIn.  I also watch movies, meditate, exercise and listen to lots of music…Oh yes…and bake! I found that keeping a routine helps the most, and learning a language or something. It is important to keep the mind active. I am learning IBM AI system language.

Vale:  In fact you do things that you can't do normally, like finally getting  around to trashing all those old things you have kept in the house but will never use.  You finally throw it out. We may spend time cleaning the house in ways that we normally don’t have time to do.  Some people exercise at home, or read. I only walk in my house, but athletes, like soccer players for instance, are exercising at home more these days. 

JB:  Has there been any good come from these conditions? Is there an “Upside” to staying home?

Zoe: So, the good side of isolation actually, is getting to spend extra time with my daughter.  I get to what is she doing in school, and how their techers treat them. I also get to see how children behave in school. 

Fokan: We have time to think, and that is good. :-) We need to think about what we are building everyday. 

Amanda: ummm, what is the upside here? Well, at work I dont have to go to meetings all the time...we use more skype and Teams.  And ...people are better at washing their hands.

Reagan: Well i'm thankful that i'm still working.  I won't fall behind on my bills

Rose: Hmmm..maybe that we value things we took for granted before, as simple as going out.
Bonnie: I like that I have more time with the kids…and more baking and cooking, and making sure the food is good and healthy.

Vale: Parents are spending more time with their children. Some send jokes about the virus by using the Whatssup App.  People tend to be more connected to family and friends...they talk about the news and share information as they learn more about the virus. They also say the air is better now- less contaminated.  And the wildlife is coming back, with animals ranging farther afield, and coming into the cities.

JB:  Has COVID-19 affected your time in SL? Has it changed the time you spend here?

Zoe: SecondLife is even more fun than usual.  I am spending more time in SL these days. I’m normally online the entire day because of my job, so now I can be online at SL too.  I am also making new friends…every day more and more people are logging online here. 

Fokan: I have been a member of SL for a long time, so it is not because of COVID-19 that I am here.  I would be here anyway. 

Reagan: I see there are more people online any given time of the day….some people have shorter fuses….less patience.  I think we come here to get away from it, but it's still there. It's like trying to leave work at home….. you try to leave it, but it still comes with you

Rose: I’m not really able to spend any more time here than I did before.  With the whole family staying home, I'm not alone as often as I normally am.

Aylla:  Actually, I was not able to get into SL at all for a day or two.  We had to wait a day or two for them to fix a break in the undersea cable that carries internet to South Africa. 

Robb: In times like this Second Life becomes one of those safe havens where you can still connect with people, especially those you are close to, and help mitigate our concerns and put a little order into the rapidly changing situation all of us around the world have to navigate.

Bonnie: I haven't been logging in much the last months since November, but now I have been logging in 2-3 times a week to check on friends and play and lose myself a little.  It’s a release…an escape. I have no problem with escaping as long as we're conscious of what we're doing. IMHO.

Vale:  We value now the freedom to go out, a hug, a kiss...To be close with they people you care about, because we no longer can.  It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, this virus can kill you, no matter your race.. all the world has stopped.I think eventually they will find a solution to this problem, and things will return to normal….and we as humans won’t have learned a thing. It's like when you're at hospital and you are scared and wondering if you will get well or not, but afterwards when you are safe back at home you think “why I was worried about such stupid things”.  Once all is well again, you forget all about it.

So there you have it folks.  When it comes right down to it, “It’s a Small World After All”   Practice a little extra kindness during this stressful time. That person living in close proximity to you is under the same pressure and same “Stay at Home” restriction that you are. Many of us reading this article may have fewer family members to love when this thing has run its course. Stay close through social media. Exercise some extra “Social Connectedness”


Letter from the Editor:
On behalf of the SL Enquirer please be safe,wash your hands often, practice social distancing and follow the directives put in place by your state and/or country seriously to help prevent the spread. 

SLE wishes you all well. We as a global community are all trying to make sense of this new time we are living in. Find comfort in any way you can. If it means taking a walk, reading a good book, Zoom parties or facetiming with family and friends. Keep the faith that we will overcome this pandemic and get back to our lives. It won’t be easy but working together we will make a difference. - Lanai Jarrico

Please share what you are doing to get through this pandemic in the comments section below. Your words may help others struggling during this time.


  1. this is a crazy time, and i am fortunate to be allowed to work from home. as this is an SL item... let me just say i have logged into SL every day the past couple of weeks and offered virtual hugz to anyone. i IM randomly to connect socially. and i make LOUD and crazy woman announcements in various group windows!!! i think people value staying connected!

    1. Hi Silky...Thanks for doing your bit to promote "Social Connection". Some people may think it silly, but we need it now more than ever.

  2. Stay at home people, take care of you and the others. For some is life or dead. Be safe!

    1. Thanks, Unknown. We will get through this, and there will be a morning after. Hang in there!

  3. Josh, thank you very much for the interview! I wish all well and safe! God Bless! Sending you Blessings from Jerusalem, Israel!

  4. Thank you for your time in assisting me here. We are all in this together. :-)


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