Over the past four weeks, I've spent time in Cincinnati, Ohio and Dallas, Texas. The governor of Ohio ordered business closings and stay-at-home isolation about three weeks ago. The Dallas County Judge (a common title for county executives in the south and southwest) ordered the same about a week ago. Bars, pubs, restaurants, retail stores, theaters, &c are most affected -- along with their employees. "Essential businesses" like grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and others still operate.
Grocery stores almost immediately ran out of sanitizers, toilet tissue, bottled water, eggs, canned meats, and other. Gun stores started doing a bang-up business and popular ammunition (9mm and 5.56/223) sold out in days.
Schools didn't wait for orders; virtually all of them closed down weeks ago. Two weeks ago a number of corporations started work-from-home initiatives. The big corporate campus I work on was empty -- and there are usually close to 10,000 workers there every day. That's typical.
Retail stores have started installing acrylic shields between cashiers and customers. Some stores limit the number of customers allowed inside: check-in at the door, put your phone number on a queue, and you receive a text when it's your turn to shop.
On-line shopping is hit and miss: some goods are readily available, deliver on other is more than a month away.
Grocery stores have started to recover; toilet tissue, paper towels, and eggs can be found on the shelves a few times a week but still sell-out occasionally. Most set limits on how many items of certain goods you can buy and I've witnessed more than one heated argument between cashiers and women with a cart full of toilet paper and "a large family."
The roads are very uncrowded, airports seem empty, and the one third of flights that are still operating are less than half full. Fares are great. Uber and Lyft drivers tell me that their income has shrunk terribly but some on-line articles I've read say that the drivers who are still working have more fares than ever. I think that both are true and the differences are regional.
What about all those people at home with their children? Here, spring is upon us and i see lots of families riding bicycles and enjoying time in parks. I hear, however, that that is not the case in the big cities: people are very distrustful and are beginning to treat others aggressively.
I've heard that people from southwest Ohio, where restaurants are closed, are not warmly welcomed when they cross the river to visit restaurants in northern Kentucky, which are not closed. I can understand their anxiety: if they're supposed to be staying home, why are they risking the health of their neighbors?
A few friends of mine with children and grandchildren living in New York City are putting them up in the midwest for a while. Everyone I know is trying to isolate themselves for two weeks after traveling -- heck, I'm not even seeing my wife after two weeks away -- but I'm afraid that many travelers are not that responsible.