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My wife's company had a mandatory conference for all of their over 2,000 employees last week. She did not attend, thankfully. Even though it was mandatory she rolled the dice on a Telehealth appointment and the doctor she got thought it was wonderful that she hasn't gotten COVID yet, and wrote her a note suggesting that she be exempt from all in-person meetings for the next 365 days. Surprisingly, to us, HR at her company accepted it. We went camping while everyone else went to a packed, zero COVID precautions considered, conference.

No surprise at all, she's covering for many people out sick today, including the person she works most closely with who texted her to say she's "down with the worst bout of COVID yet."

She just got off of a zoom meeting with her boss, who also has COVID today, and is suddenly COVID cautious curious, let's say. She said it's her 7th(yes, seventh) known COVID infection, she has a "bizarre autoimmune disorder" that her doctors have spent a year trying to help her figure out, and she's come to believe that it *might* just be COVID related.

She asked how my wife has managed to stay COVID free, and my wife went ahead and listed out all of our precautions, and here's where watching this secretly from across the room blew my mind....The hangup was restaurants. She kept coming back to "You haven't been inside of a restaurant in 4 years?" Over and over. At least 4 times in the next 20 minutes she repeated that. Like it was some Herculean feat that couldn't be accomplished by the average human being.

I just don't get it...

Anyway, it was a bridge too far, and so she will continue getting COVID.

My wife reports this evening that no less than a dozen other people reported into Teams that they feel awful today. Don't worry, though! It's all "not COVID" for sure.

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Update:

Basically everyone in my wife's work group is out sick. She reports that Teams is silent and her boss's boss asked her into a Zoom call first thing this morning where she asked my wife to "hold down the fort." Of course, that was proceeded by "I'm not sick like everyone else. I just have laryngitis and my doctor says I need to stop talking, but that's not going to happen. I'm practically the only one here this week."

Throwing out all regard for employees and their health from the discussion, why do businesses think that getting together for a few days is worth this? There really needs to be a reckoning across the work culture where we all agree to acknowledge it's not a good idea.

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@BE I do not understand the restaurant obsession. I kinda hate cooking, but I’ve got this one weird trick for staying safer: *I order to-go.* 🙄

@donkeyherder @BE
And eating al fresco, there are some really nice places where you can sit nicely spaced apart, listening to babbling brooks and rustling leaves...

@aquasscum @donkeyherder @BE my bestest friend and favorite person in the world doesnt mask - too much bother... 4th bout of covid currently... we meet for lunch or tea outside. I mask everywhere indoors including her house and she has missed years worth of sushi night/movie night/game nights at my place. I worry for her long term health apparently more than she does and yes she knows the risks, is not anti vax or anything... I list this under why do smart folks do stupid stuff.

@donkeyherder @BE

I prefer to cook my own meals, because that way I have more control over how much fat/sugar/salt goes into the meal. And I know that the food has not been dropped on the floor before it landed on my plate.

@donkeyherder @BE

A friend & I celebrate each other's birthdays by getting an upscale version of salad & sandwich from a local place, and eating in a nearby public garden.

Our birthdays are in the fall, so the weather is still nice & mild, but not hot, most flower beds still look nice & have lots of blooms, there is a wee lake with ducks, and it's a really pleasant couple of hours. 😊

We used to eat out in restaurants regularly, but I won't now, and he won't without me. 🙏

@donkeyherder
Yeah it worked through the whole pandemic time 🙂👍
@BE

@BE Blows me away. I blame, in part, the horrible communications, inaccurate information (wash your hands), by the CDC (in the U.S.), WHO, and mainstream media. It's as if all they care about is keeping the economy going while those who lack information (or don't want to hear/read it) continue being infected and infecting others. It is not just a cold or even the flu.

@BE

I never understood how people think that eating inside restaurants is compatible with trying to avoid catching Covid. In the first month of the pandemic I already realised: Restaurants should change their business model (take-away, delivery). Surprisingly, the majority of the population is less concerned.

@BE 🌺️ I dearly miss all-you-can-eat sushi, and yet have happily given it up in exchange for staying SARS-free.

It is not even a sacrifice, just a reasonable precaution…

I cannot believe that this is a hard sell for some.

@BE
My wife has brought up restaurants a lot. Eating in the car isn't enough. She wants to eat in the restaurant. Thankfully, she keeps visiting her parents in mind.

@shawrd773
We found 1 nearby!... but then it got hot here in Texas lol. 100+ degrees lol. Just waiting for the temperature now
@BE

@BE
While I realize leaving a job is no trivial matter, I have to suggest that your wife is interacting with the wrong set of people. Obviously the corporate culture at her work is inconsistent with health and common sense, and you & she would be better off OUT of that environment.

@BE I haven't set foot in a restaurant since March 2020. Restaurants are a relatively new phenomenon in western history. Remarkably, one can still eat without them.

I just do curbside takeout or drive-through and wear a P100 mask while ordering and accepting food and make sure the car is well aired out before I shut the windows.

No known infections.

I'm continuously startled by how little people are willing to do to avoid this awful disease.

@BE
I've never gotten the histrionics around mask wearing. I've been wearing masks consistently in all indoor situations since the beginning and just do not at all get the inability to endure the least discomfort.

@BE I'm pretty sure this is also how my family's managed to stay COVID free.

@BE
Maybe "don't eat in restaurants" is just too much for her boss, but that doesn't mean throwing caution to the wind and partying like it's 2019. If there's some higher risk activity that's really important, you can keep doing it but also keep taking precautions the rest of the time. It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing.

@BE @cobalt I’ve eaten out at restaurants, but only ones that have patios - which is shockingly limited here despite weather that is really amenable to it. I also don’t eat at lunch meetings in my office, which truly bothers some people bc they don’t like that I’m not willing to take my mask off for a terrible box lunch.

@BE Wow--I also don't understand the restaurant obsession. And reluctance to wear masks when in crowded indoor spaces. My husband and I have stayed COVID-free (as far as we know) by continuing to wear N95 masks. We rarely go to restaurants except when traveling, and feel exceptionally lucky that we dodged the bullet when we end our travels without getting infected.

@nancylwayne @BE Precisely! I always wear an N95 in crowded, indoor spaces and opt for outdoor dining whenever possible (pretty frequent here in Hawaii). On the rare occasions I'm in an indoor restaurant, I always try to make sure I'm in a sparsely populated area and near a window.

@BE we're the same. I miss eating in restaurants and admittedly in Miami it's easier than many places in that if the place doesn't have outdoor dining we can choose something that does.

I imagine some aren't even doing outdoor dining and I think that's sensible.

But, I mean, no restaurant is worth getting sick for.

And it helps that prices have skyrocketed so I'm eating out less anyway.

@BE I got COVID once. The CDC said Miami in September of 2022 was green so I attended an event for a candidate I was helping. I didn't wear a mask but I actually didn't go into the event either. Stayed in the lobby talking to another campaign worker about how the event looked like a super spreader event and we weren't going in to the main room.

She had covid at the time and didn't know it and gave it to me.

That's the only day I haven't worn a mask in years.

@BE I've had pretty good luck with restaurants so far. Outside seating where possible and where its not possible I'm usually not going during peak traffic. Also I might be the only person in my area still wearing a mask and its baffling. But I guess the pandemics over, the government said so, never mind the rising case numbers and hospitalizations.

@BE Think about the percentage of Americans that attend church. Weekly. This is considered something existentially important to do. Where the spiritual “health” is more important than the physical. It’s not just restaurant attendance that is propagating Covid.

@sapphireangel @miki @BE We do eat at restaurants occasionally, but *much* less than before. We eat outside when at all possible. Otherwise, we go at a time of day (e.g. 3PM) when it's likely to be empty. We sit far away from others and only go places that are well-ventilated. Not hard.

@andthisismrspeacock @miki @BE Not every place has this setup, and have fun with that in winter. lol

@BE My husband and i have both avoided getting covid. Wasn't that difficult. We did however avoid bars and restaurants. Poor thing.

@BE

thank you for sharing this cautionary tale, that's really about sensible PREcaution.

@BE I suspect much of "work culture" is bosses needing to see subservience in the eyes of others, in person.

@BE
Yes, but those leases are generally 6 or 7 years long. Surely you're not asking all those businesses to lose money just to avoid killing a few employees? They can always just hire new employees.

@BE i do miss going to restaurants, a LOT. but i'd miss my life and/or my long-term good health more.

@BE So, I mean, it's weird, but last week, while your wife's boss was getting her 7th covid infection, I got my 7th (yes, seventh) covid shot. I've not eaten inside a restaurant in four years either, and while I miss it terribly, I have an actual autoimmune disease that's not caused by covid because I've never had covid. Neither has anyone else in my family because they love me and take precautions. Including masking in public and not eating in restaurants. 🤷‍♀️

@BE bonkers... i order to-go most of the time. If I sit down, it's at the outdoor seatings. I've rolled the dice (indoors seating) maybe... half a dozen? max? in the last three years. no problem. one plane flight, masked the whole way. no covid so far.

@BE Realizing the amount that certain peoples identities are wrapped up in eating inside at restaurants really has been one of those surreal experiences of the pandemic.

@aeischeid @BE One of my coworkers was saying recently that every time she goes to the beach she gets Covid. I'm sure my face wore some expression of disbelief that she hadn't figured out how to avoid it yet.
I haven't been to the beach, but have traveled, and infrequently eat indoors (outdoors when possible) and I think avoiding crowded spaces is key. I still haven't caught it despite a couple of exposures.

@shadyspotlight @aeischeid @BE It’s bizarre how people just accept that getting it is “inevitable” and do nothing to change the circumstances under which they catch it.

@BE

“The hangup was restaurants.”

I don’t get this obsession with restaurants. I enjoyed eating out pre-Covid, but I just can’t square the risk/benefit equation. Not to mention that there’s take-out, there are patios in season, and I know how cook well for myself.
So bizarre.

@DavidM_yeg @BE not to mention the cost! Restaurant prices have gone sky high :(

@BE @annecavicchi

Before Covid restaurants were already always an only occasional treat because of the the cost, but I guess there I’m demonstrating the same awareness of the difference between a need and a want that was the driving factor behind the story in the original post.

@DavidM_yeg @BE yes, it is amazing that the boss’s big thing was “gasp, no restaurants? How do you survive that!”

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