Uncertainty over duration of pandemic response has many on edge

RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) There are differing views on how to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Vermont leaders suggest that we may have to wait months to re-start the economy, while President Trump now says he expects people back at work by Easter. The uncertainty over time frames has many people on edge.

"Just trying to get through it," said Lisa Curtis, the owner of Sweet Simone's in Richmond. She says it's strange being the only person after she was forced to lay off all her staff due to the coronavirus shutdown. "It's heartbreaking, and it's really boring doing everything in the kitchen without everyone here. I miss everyone's smiling faces, I miss laughing, I miss hustling and filling orders with everybody."

Curtis doesn't know when she'll be able to hire them back. But with online orders only, the bakery is only making 5 percent of what it used to. "It's a big change," she said.

Just a couple of doors down, David Sunshine's law office is also quiet. "There's a lot less email traffic right now than there used to be," Sunshine said. He say he has work to keep him busy, but they've had to adjust procedures for home closings and estates. "We're trying to figure out how to get everything signed because nobody wants to get together."

While people and businesses are adapting, there's only so long that a change in routine or takeout orders can last. And the biggest concern we've heard from people is the uncertainty over how this is going to go for. And not having answers makes people nervous.

"It's a sober reality. And we've never done this before, so we're all just trying to struggle to figure out what do we need to do to make ourselves feel normal," said Cathy Clark of Richmond.

Despite the uncertainty, Curtis says her family is also building their new routine. Her daughters now do their schoolwork at the bakery. "Getting through it is a difficult mindset to think of because you're constantly looking for the end. But because we don't know that there's an end now, it's -- Okay, this is the new normal at the moment, so we need to shift our business to make it work for the public," Curtis said.

Sunshine says he thinks it's important to get a handle on the virus. "It's a balance test, but I don't agree that the economy trumps over everybody's health," he said.

But like everyone, he hopes it won't take too long.