A look at how life is different one year into a global pandemic

NOW: A look at how life is different one year into a global pandemic

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Life as we know it has changed a lot in the last year.

From social distancing, to wearing masks everywhere we go, and for most people, working from home!

That all applies to us here at ABC57 as well with most of our staff still working remotely.  That includes Tana Kelley, our learning curve reporter, who’s spent the last year working from home.

“We’ve been working from home probably since last march or April. And, you know, it was a transition, our job is pretty much going out and talking to people in our community,” Kelley said. “It’s a little different, yeah, you get out of bed and you are at home instead of going to the station. And, you’re doing your calls here and your interviews here and sometimes you even go live here which is definitely a transition. And it’s definitely looks different to the viewer.”

Back in May of 2020, Kelley checked in with a few locals who were also adjusting to life working from home. David Rafinksi, Vice President of a local architecture engineering firm, was one of them.

Fast forward to March 2021 and Rafinski is still working from home.

“Yea I would’ve never guessed that a year later we’d still be working from home. I would’ve never guessed that,” Rafinski said.

And he’s not alone. According to Upwork, the world’s largest work marketplace, nearly 42% of the American workforce is working remotely. That’s an increase of 87% from the number of remote workers before the pandemic.

“Tiffany: Do you enjoy working from home?

David: Yes and no. I love the convenience. I’ve been able to spend much more time with my family than I was before. But, I don’t know that it’s as efficient and I don’t know that, it makes it more difficult to kind of draw a defined line from home life and work life.”

On the other hand, many professions don’t have the luxury of being able to work from home. The restaurant industry especially took a hard hit when things shut down completely at the height of the pandemic last year.

At Market Fresh Gourmet Restaurants, Corndance Tavern, Jesus Bar and Grill, and Evil Czech Brewery,  the last year has been filled with changes because of that.

“The biggest, I think immediate physical representation for our customers were used to us was all of our dining rooms were either marked off that you couldn’t sit here due to social distancing regulations or we had removed tables and chairs,” Drew Sachau said, Corporate Executive Chef at Market Fresh Gourmet Restaurants.

Since the phased reopening of indoor dining in Indiana began, one thing has remained the same for Sachua, at all three of his restaurants. That is social distancing and mask requirements.

“At first it was obviously difficult. It was not something we were used to. I would say now, everyone’s fairly used to it,” Sachua said. “We’re breathing a little easier a year later than what we were 6 months ago. We’ve really just kind of embraced the new normal, the normal for now. We ultimately, at the end, we’re just happy we’re able to see smiling faces sitting in our restaurants, eating, drinking and enjoying themselves.”

Another part of life that’s changed since the start of the pandemic is the way we worship.

“Holy water we’re not allowed to use for obvious reasons, dipping your hands in it, spreading the virus. Even our baptismal fount is drained right now,” Jeremy Hoy said, Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Pius X in Granger.

Every week for the last year, services at St. Pius X have been taped days in advance so parishioners can watch from home.

That process looks like preaching to an empty church with the pews roped off for social distancing.

“I remember those first few days, we had tears in our eyes like I can’t believe this is to an empty church. We always had to keep reminding ourselves that there is somebody on the other side of the camera even though we couldn’t see them,” Hoy said.

Tiffany: “Looking back a year later, would you guys say you’re pretty much pros now?

Jeremy: I would. We’re a lot more comfortable with it and I don’t like being in front of the camera so when those first few weeks when I had to do things I was like oh my gosh but you forget about it after a while.”

Pros in a pandemic. It’s what we’ve all had to become. Adapting and overcoming every step of the way.

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