SAN ANTONIO – It wasn’t long ago that every one of us were making our usual plans for the future. From family gatherings to vacations, we all were pretty certain of what a typical spring and summer break would entail.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spread around the globe.
For those of us stuck indoors, it seems like an eternity since government officials issued some form of “Stay Home, Work Safe” order throughout the nation. For two Texas natives, that order is taken more seriously because of where they live.
FROM THE LONE STAR STATE TO THE BIG APPLE
Tyler Dudley, a graduate from St. Mary’s University, currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. After working with KSAT 12 Sports in 2016 as a member of our Big Game Coverage team, which covers local high school football, Dudley decided to attend Syracuse University after graduating with her bachelor’s degree.
“I always knew growing up that I wanted to work in sports,” said Dudley. “While at St. Mary’s I interned with KSAT and got to see the production side of things. From being on camera, telling athletes stories, that made me change my career path and pursue that passion for sports. I’m very lucky that I had that opportunity to work with BGC and get that first hand experience.”
Dudley works with a sports publishing company called Minute Media on the integrated marketing team. On a typical work day, it takes the St. Mary’s and Syracuse grad around 45 minutes and two train changes to get to her office in New York City from Brooklyn. She’s now entering her third week working from home.
“We’re working from home indefinitely, maybe we go back in May,” said Dudley. “I feel very grateful that I can work from home.”
On Sunday evening, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended New York’s stay at home order until April 15, keeping non-essential businesses closed and banning public gathers regardless of size. The order has transformed the streets and sidewalks of New York, usually packed with people, into quiet, empty avenues.
“Schools are shut down so you don’t hear kids in the mornings or afternoons anymore, so that is kind of weird,” Dudley said. “I go outside once a week to the grocery store, I try to get some fresh air to keep myself sane. When you step outside, the air feels different. It has a completely different vibe. You can feel everyone is uneasy and very on edge.”
The order issued in New York may be worded a bit differently depending on where you live. Regardless of the text, the mandates are becoming more common from coast-to-coast and hitting families hard.
“My family in El Paso have not been so lucky,” explained Dudley. “My sister, my mom, my aunt, my uncles, they have all been hit really hard with this. They don’t have jobs right now and there’s no telling when they will go back.”
“I’m not completely alone, I have two uncles that live here, a cousin and friends from school living here,” Dudley added. “My family back home has urged us to rent a car and return to El Paso but it’s not that easy.”
RUNNING IN RUSSIA
“Vacation’s over, definitely ready to go home now, this is real.”Christine Chapa, when she witnessed armed guards appearing in Greece after the start of the coronavirus outbreak there.
Christine Chapa has never been the type to stay in one place. Due to the coronavirus outbreak in California, she is finally being forced to do so.
Before that, she managed to run a marathon in Russia earlier this month.
Chapa, a native of San Antonio, has participated in numerous marathon’s across the country. In this particular instance, she traveled overseas to Paris, Greece, Moscow, Listvyanka and Saint Petersburg.
“We ran across a frozen lake in Eastern Siberia,” said Chapa about her March 1 marathon. “I had planned for this over a year ago. In retrospect, had I known had bad this was going to get, I would have come home right after the marathon.”
But Chapa did not return home. She would vacation for the next 11 days. Then, President Trump announced a travel ban from Europe to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
“On the morning of March 12, I woke up to 65 text messages from people telling me to come home, to book a flight right away,” said Chapa. “I was concerned I was stuck in Europe.”
“In Greece, everyone was acting normal there but after that travel ban got announced, everyone went into panic mode. The people that lived there were getting texts from their government, asking them to stay home, don’t go out. Armed guards were starting to show up in different places in the city. After I saw that, I just thought ‘vacation’s over, I’m definitely ready to go home now, this is real.'”
Chapa would fly back to the United States the following day, to her home in San Francisco, where she has lived for eight years. Four days later, California ordered their nearly 40 million residents to shelter-in-place for three weeks. That order is expected to be extended until May 1 for the Bay Area according to report in The Mercury News overnight.
“The Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, all the parks - they’re empty.”
WORDS OF WISDOM
Both Dudley and Chapa shared a few words of advice for those outside these coronavirus hot zones.
“Stay inside and I know that’s tough,” said Dudley. “I want to go outside and feel like I can go for a run and not be six feet apart from someone on the sidewalk. Being in quarantine, I think about every single thing I touch - my pen, my phone, the doorknob, the light switch - all those things carry so many germs. Wash your hands, stay at home. Call your family, call your friends, you are not alone, everyone is feeling this anxiousness and loneliness.”
“I didn’t flip out when I got all those text messages telling me to come home,” said Chapa. “Stay home, stay calm and deal with the facts. Listen to what you hear in the news. The only way to get this over with, sooner rather than later, is to listen to the authorities, help flatten that curve. The sooner we do that and stick with those rules, the quicker this will get better.”
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 16 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email email@example.com