Life Under Shelter in Place – The First Day

Stacey Gustafson

Stacey Gustafson

What’s ‘shelter in place’?

Around 1:00 pm on March 16, 2020, a ‘shelter in place’ order broadcasted across seven Bay Area counties, SantaClara, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, and Santa Cruz. For a moment, I couldn’t process what was happening. What’s this? Quarantine? I needed to hear more.

We were required to stay at home, the announcement blared across the television. Stop moving around. Until April 7. That’s 552 hours.
The Mercury Newspaper put it in simple, straightforward language.

Social distancing became the new catch phrase. We were instructed to keep six feet from others to limit the spread of COVID-19.

What does ‘shelter in place’ mean for me? Only grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations remained open. Few restaurants provided take out food. All non-essential services closed. And my husband would work from home. Every day. All. Day. Long. For at least the next 23 days, we would be secluded together in the same house.

I’ve decided to keep a journal to mark my experience.

Day 1 – Getting the News, First 24 Hours

March 16, 2020
1:00 PM – Mesmerized, I watched the news with a friend over breakfast at my house. We’re yoga buddies and encouraged each other to go to class three times a week. My motivation was zero regarding exercise without her. A new reality was just beginning. I’d be isolated from friends and yoga classes a distant memory.

2:00 PM – After the report was over, we agreed to Facetime during the ‘shelter in place.’ I said, “Well, I guess I’ll see youStacey Gustafson

after April 7.” We elbowed bumped and she drove off in search of groceries.

2:00 – 4:00 PM – I spent the rest of the day contacting neighbors and local friends via email and text messaging. What are you going to do? Can you believe it? Next, we went in search of necessary supplies. By this time, the frozen food section had thinned out. Bread wiped off the shelves, even frozen bread rolls gone. No more chicken. Hand sanitizer? Forget it. Toilet paper? Nada. The store reassured us that they would restock and we should try again tomorrow.

5:00 PM – I called my extended family back in St. Louis. Seemed the news hadn’t reached them yet. Or not with thesame intensity. I warned them that ‘shelter in place’ was coming their way. Best to prepare with necessary supplies. Even Amazon Prime no longer delivered overnight for many items.
5:30 PM – I texted with friends on the front line, the nurses, social workers, doctors, our caregivers. They expressed their unwavering sense of responsibility to the community. One nurse even said, “If I should die, I want to be cremated.”

What I learned?

If my grandparents could go to war, being called to sit on your couch was little to ask during a global pandemic. The real heroes were the doctors, nurses, and caregivers on the front lines of the coronavirus fight, putting their own life at risk using a dwindling supply of protective gear. I’m grateful too for the grocery store employees, pharmacists and other essential workers risking it all to keep a sense of normalcy and provide us with the basic needs.

Check back later to follow my journey through the first week of ‘shelter in place.’

Are You Still Kidding Me?

Are You Still Kidding Me? Available Pre-Order Stacey Gustafson
Want more? Are You Still Kidding Me? is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. What are reviewers saying?

“I love Stacey Gustafson’s voice–her stories and how she shares them! She is entertaining, relevant and relatable, and her new book is for anyone who is a parent, child, spouse, or other.” – Wendy Liebman, stand-up comedian, semi-finalist on American’s Got Talent, Taller on TV 

Buy now at



Stacey Gustafson
About staceygustafson


  1. Camille Thompson says

    Perfect description of the “situation.” Thanks for finding the funny in all this.

    • staceygustafson says

      Thanks for the compliment. I’m planning on returning to strictly humorous articles but compelled to write about Covid-19 for now.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.