Sorry It's Boring, But Stay At Home Means Stay At Home

When It Comes To COVID-19, The Answer Is NO

When-It-Comes-To-COVID-19,-The-Answer-Is-NO-1
Justin Paget/Getty

For the love of God, would you please, please listen to every public health expert and respected doctor on planet earth and stay the FUCK home?

Self-isolation is a mandate in some places, and it’s the recommendation everywhere. COVID-19 is not a joke. It’s not a drill. It’s not the damn flu. We are weathering a worldwide pandemic, and most people alive have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. Since we have never faced this kind of thing before, we have to do things we have never had to do before. It sucks, but it’s the way it is, so listen to the experts and stay home.

Unless you are an essential worker whose job is required to keep society running while we weather this pandemic, don’t go out. When I say, “don’t go out,” I don’t mean, “go out less.”

I mean do not go out. Stay at home. Your home. Not your friends’ homes, not your mama’s home, not your church home. Your very own home. If you’re choosing to weather this entire pandemic at someone else’s home, cool. That’s your home for now. Stay the fuck in it.

You might be thinking that, with many places closing restaurants and theaters and canceling large events, we should be safe … shouldn’t we? If someone invites me to lunch, dinner, a party, a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park, I can go, right?

Sigh. No. You cannot.

When it comes to COVID-19, the answer is NO.

Always no. Just say no. You’re Meghan Trainor now. Your name is no, your sign is no, your number is no. No, no, no.

You might be thinking, surely there are exceptions to this rule, right? I can go somewhere?

Sure. You can go a few places.

If you have an emergency, take care of it. Obviously. We don’t need to be out here setting broken bones at home with a YouTube tutorial. There’s no sense in freaking out and abandoning reason. We just need to stay our asses at home for every non-essential thing.

Don’t quit your job, but work from home if you can. If you can’t, go to work, try to stay six feet or more from your co-workers, wash your hands a lot, and don’t touch your face. Do the best you can. When work is over, GO HOME.

Also, your family needs stuff. Hoarding is mean and selfish. It takes resources away from people who can’t afford to buy giant quantities to sit on “just in case.” Go ahead and send one adult member of your home out for one weekly supply run (or less often if you don’t need anything yet.) Don’t buy up all the eggs and toilet paper like some kind of asshole, Karen. Just get what you need.

Can you take your kids with you into the store for a change of scenery? No. Everyone else in your family needs to stay at home.

Can your kid still have a birthday party? The answer is NO.

It sucks. Hard. My son turned four just this week, and we had an at-home birthday. I wasn’t excited about it, but it turned out to be really nice. Cancel the party. Get a boxed cake mix on your weekly grocery run, bake it together and stay at home. If you can’t find eggs because of hoarding, you can find a substitiution. Problem solved. Stay the fuck home.

School is canceled, so your kids need play dates, right? NOPE.

Cancel all the playdates. Your kids can spread this coronavirus to one another and then to you. Don’t panic because young, healthy people, especially kids, are typically faring pretty well with COVID-19, but do be mindful and adhere to CDC guidelines to slow the spread. It’s not all about you. Older adults, and immune compromised individuals, are much more likely to get very sick or even die. The more people that interact behind the scenes at home, the higher the likelihood that you will unwittingly carry the virus with you to your local grocery store and infect a high-risk neighbor. Tell your kids’ friends to stay home, and keep your kids home, too.

Can you worship your god with your congregation in person? NO.

But can you worship? Heck, yeah! Online! The virus will not politely wait at the church door in deference to your religious service. If your church isn’t doing a live stream, chances are another body that worships similarly is. Log on. Get your fill. Drink coffee in your jammies and watch your clergy deliver a message from their living room, but stay the heck home.

Woman self isolating on the sofa with flu
Justin Paget/Getty

Can you go on vacation? Come on. NO.

I literally just told you not to even let your neighbor’s kid come over. Do you really think vacations are cool right now? Disney World is closed anyway, and the beach and the mountains will be waiting for you after we flatten this curve. As much as it sucks, vacation is no-go. Don’t be that selfish and narrow-minded. Time to change that vacay into a stay-cay.

Are all of your friends following the rules and staying home?

Every single person you know is safe and healthy. No confirmed virus in your social circle whatsoever. That’s amazing. NO, you still can’t safely assemble for a dinner party or a pool party or a … shudder… potluck. The best practice is to stay home. Your home. Stay in it with your own family, and be bored for a few weeks. The more we try to skirt the rules, the more we prolong the need for social distancing. Set up a video conference call, download the Marco Polo app, utilize Skype and Facetime, mail a letter. Just stay home.

Insert any other small social gathering or non-essential errand here.

If you can live without it, you shouldn’t do it. Unless a member of your house invites you to stay at your own damn house, you should be RSVPing ‘no’ to all invitations.

Listen, I know this is hard. I am an introvert and a homebody by nature. My personality type is best suited for this kind of emergency, and this is even wearing on me. I miss my parents and my friends. I want to go to Target. I’m sick of staring at the walls of my own house. I can’t imagine how much this hurts people who need a lot more hustle and bustle to feel healthy and fulfilled.

But we all have to do this because lives are on the line. Not “just” elderly lives (which is a repugnant thing to say, by the way.) The WHO is clear that young people are not invincible.

For now, sit on your porch for some fresh air. Take a walk around your neighborhood with the dog or the kids and wave from across the street to any neighbors you pass along the way. Call your grandma. Dance in your underwear. Do yoga. Clean out your guest room closet. Bake a cake. Roast a chicken. Write an encouraging email to a high school or college senior whose graduation ceremony is canceled.

Do anything you want, but do it at home.

Self-isolation is our only defense. The more we go out, the more we share this illness and the longer the world will be on pause. It’s selfish, it’s dangerous, and anyone doing it needs to knock it off.

The sooner we comply, the sooner our lives can go back to some kind of normal.