Focus On: Amy Mandelbaum

I own a gym called CrossFit Westport which I closed proactively before the state mandated closings. I felt that my members and employees were at risk, and was concerned for everyone’s health and safety. Since the gym’s temporary closing, I have loaned out about 80% of my equipment to members for home use. My business has also gone virtual. We coach several group classes a day via Zoom, and check in with our members several times a week to answer questions, give personalized workouts, etc. My husband David is an investment portfolio manager, and saw the writing on the wall about two weeks before businesses closed and the lockdown was put into effect. He stopped going into the city about a month ago and has been working from home since then.  I remember sending my son back to school in California towards the end of January with much fear and trepidation. 

Both of my college-aged kids, Julia & Sam, are in on-line classes. When we aren’t working, we’re working out, cooking, reading, watching Netflix (we’ve been binge watching West Wing – if only President Bartlett was in charge now…), and I am knitting A LOT! 

I am still up at 6 am every day and fill my days with work and forward planning for my business. I am also the Producer for Staples Players, so I have spent quite a bit of time these past few weeks trying to help organize a fundraiser to help recoup the losses of our main stage show, Seussical, being cancelled. 

I would say, by and large, our community has done a good job of self-isolating, keeping the community informed, helping small businesses survive, and taking care of those who cannot get out of their homes to shop or do other errands. I feel that having lived in the City during 9/11 and experiencing the great financial crisis in 2008, has steeled us to a degree for the current crisis. Our kids have only vague memories of both, and they are doing their best to cope despite losing out on important milestones in their lives — my daughter, a musical theatre major, is missing her senior show, senior showcase and college graduation, while our son was really enjoying his first year in college, which ended all too abruptly. 

My hope is that a vaccine is soon developed that can eradicate the disease, or therapies emerge that will lessen its severity. That way, we can get back to relative normality soon. My fear is that this will take a lot longer than it should because our resources are so taxed at the moment, and because we failed to act more quickly. I spend a good amount of time worrying about the domino effects of this virus, how it has seeped into our lives and whether it will permanently change how we interact with one another. I don’t think anyone will go into a highly populated place for a very long time out of fear. That is a terrible way to live. Despite my fears, I love my community and I am confident that we will get through this together. 

I love my community and I am confident that we will get through this together. 

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