Daniel Milks, Travel Operator, Owner of MyXOAdventures.com
“After I returned from a trip to Cuba last March, my business stopped. Through April, I was doing Instacart deliveries. I knew, If I don’t reinvent myself, I am going to die. I had a 15-passenger van I was doing tours in, converted it and set out throughout the United States to every part I wanted to see. I made phone calls to businesses in areas I wanted to visit, asking, ‘Can I stop by so I can learn about what you do, promote you on social media?’ I scheduled national park trips—the Badlands, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Canyonlands, Yellowstone. Then I got notice that Costa Rica had opened its borders. I made a beeline back to Florida, to do the same thing there I did here. I made phone calls, sent out emails, people responded, and I created a trip for clients. I filled two Cuba trips for this March, and I’m opening up a third for February. Things are starting to look brighter.”
Tara Green, Science Lab Teacher at Tuttle Elementary
“Teachers have had to adapt quickly to using new technology, be creative in how we deliver lessons, and even revert to older teaching methods. I’m a science lab teacher teaching 750 students (the entire school). I’m normally hands-on, always trying to incorporate the use of science tools into my lessons. Since Covid-19, I have had to completely revamp. No more sharing supplies; no more working in small groups. I still try to make sure science tools get into the hands of students, but it requires a lot of disinfecting and a much larger quantity of supplies."
“Teachers have had to adapt quickly to using new technology, be creative in how we deliver lessons, and even revert to older teaching methods. I’m a science lab teacher teaching 750 students (the entire school). I’m normally hands-on, always trying to incorporate the use of science tools into my lessons. Since Covid-19, I have had to completely revamp. No more sharing supplies; no more working in small groups. I still try to make sure science tools get into the hands of students, but it requires a lot of disinfecting and a much larger quantity of supplies.
“Teaching in-person and remote students, I am live on camera all day. Some of the greatest challenges have been establishing new cleaning routines six times per day, getting supplies to remote students and lesson planning; plans take 10 times longer, having to prepare for students in person and remotely. I am grateful for the additional teacher professional days added to the school calendar, but we need more time.
“The biggest positive is seeing my students again every day. I missed them so much last spring.”
John Ferrari Jr., Estate Planning Attorney With Ferrari, Butler & Moneymaker, Specializing in Elder Law
“The biggest change to my practice has been in the area of new client intake and the execution (signing) of our elderly clients’ estate planning documents. Prior to the pandemic, I frequently traveled to new and existing clients’ bedsides in skilled nursing facilities to meet with them and review their estate planning requirements. I would then return with their documents and witnesses from my office to sign their documents. With the onset of the pandemic, I now complete many of my client meetings via video. The process for the client to sign their documents has also become much more difficult, as many of my clients have been quarantined to their rooms and restricted from having any visitors. As the rules regarding visitors begin to ease, we are doing our best to get to the many clients who have been patiently waiting to sign their documents before the restrictions may increase again.”
Dr. Kirk Voelker, Clinical Research Director, Sarasota Memorial Hospital
“I work in the intensive care unit and clinical research department at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, ground zero for Covid treatment. I work with amazing people, willing to risk their own health for the community they serve. The staff at SMH have worked tirelessly in a collaborative effort. From the housekeeping and environmental services crews that clean our facility and sanitize Covid-infected rooms every day to the nursing staff who hold the hands of patients isolated from their families, there is a close bond of respect. Our research center team has mounted a Herculean effort not only to be first in Florida to bring promising treatments to Sarasota, but also to be among the top enrollers in the United States in several of these national trials. We are better equipped and more knowledgeable to handle the challenges of Covid in the future.”
JP Knaggs, Co-Owner of Downtown's Bijou Cafe
“When Covid hit in March, we had to close. We opened in June when the state gave the OK and stayed open for three weeks until the [infection] numbers started soaring again and our customer base dwindled. We finally reopened in November, serving dinner five times a week. Most of our dining staff is back, and we’ve had a positive response from a loyal customer base.
“We never thought about not reopening, but we’re not doing lunches until we see downtown businesses have people coming to work instead of working at home. Our biggest problem is that with the theaters dark, we are missing out on a tremendous amount of pre-theater dining. But we’re doing curbside pickup and following all precautions including masks, and we’re fortunate that we have a big section of sidewalk. We have almost as many people sitting outside as inside. It’s taken all our energy, but we’ve got an incredible staff with wonderful attitudes and a determination to get back to normal.”
John Harshman, Founder, Harshman & Company
“The Covid-19 lockdown stopped the commercial real estate business. Banks closed their lobbies, stockbrokers worked from home, bars and restaurants shut their doors. My staff worked from home while I came to the office to a silent phone and no internet inquiries. I spent my time updating data and working out ways to keep some tenants while sadly letting others out of leases. The only inquiries I received were the occasional call for distressed properties and the constant parade of multifamily developers scouring our market for opportunities. The latter ushered solace that our market would rebound. Since August, with a view of a coming vaccine, activity has steadily increased, and it feels ready to explode. Some businesses will never return; others, like construction, never skipped a beat. I’m optimistic. The fundamental driving force creating demand in our commercial real estate market has always been the demand and tremendous absorption of residential real estate. As population growth continues, with the associated demand for goods and services, so does the demand for commercial real estate.”