Some Cities Are Offering Hotel Rooms To Help Domestic Violence Victims

Shelters are at capacity and hotel rooms are offering more space for domestic violence victims

As the pandemic continues and shelter-in-place guidelines continue, many victims of domestic violence are finding it harder and harder to find a safe haven to go. Police departments across the country have reported a surge in calls from domestic violence victims during lock-down, and with nowhere to go, some cities are working with local shelters to provide empty hotel rooms for them.

The Safe Alliance domestic violence shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, has been filled to capacity, HuffPost reported. The shelter can take up to 120 people, but with an increasing number of people seeking shelter coupled with fear of the virus spreading in close quarters, they knew a new approach was needed to continue servicing victims.

“We knew that with 120 people in one building, if one person gets sick, we’d be in bad shape,” said Safe Alliance president and CEO Karen Parker. To address this, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina has opened up hotel rooms to victims.

Public Health Director Gibbie Harris incorporated Safe Alliance into her annual budget plan to move residents from homeless shelters into hotel rooms. Harris leased three hotels and moved more than 200 homeless people into the rooms, including 42 Safe Alliance survivors.

Charlotte is just one of hundreds of cities seeing a similar spike in numbers.

“Our revenues are drying up very fast, but we have taken a commitment to keep our doors open,” said Alejandra Castillo, the CEO of YWCA USA, which operates 76 emergency domestic violence shelters nationwide. Castillo added that YWCA USA saw a 70 percent increase in demand for emergency housing. And according to the Texas Safe Haven, calls coming in were also more severe. Within four days, three people who called the hotline had been shot, and two had been stabbed.

Family Promise in Laramie, Wyoming, and Survive 2 Thrive in Austin, Texas are also working with local resources to provide hotel rooms or expanded plans for existing shelters, as is the Illinois Department of Human Services. At least two counties in California have also turned to hotel rooms, relying on donations from Rihanna’s charitable foundation.

“This crisis is showing the fault lines in our social safety net services in general,” said Deborah Vagins, the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “The services who provide help for survivors are woefully underfunded and under-resourced.”

“We anticipated (an increase in domestic violence) with the shelter-at-home order that was put out. And you compound the problem with the added stress of kids having to stay home from school all the time and of course not knowing the uncertainties,” Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. Guerra told The Monitor last month. “A lot of people are out of work. A lot of financial strain has been put on the families.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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The Cast Of ‘The Goonies’ Reunited With The Help Of Josh Gad

Mouth, Mikey, Data, Chunk and the rest of the gang got to reconnect after 30 years

Heeeeyyyyyyy you guys! If you lived during the ’80s, you’re gonna want to grab a brown paper bag and sit down for this one. The cast of The Goonies recently reunited for the first time in more than 30 years — and we have Frozen star Josh Gad to thank for it.

Self-described superfan Gad pulled the cast together for his new weekly YouTube show called Reunited Apart.  He talked with the cast about their favorite moments from the movie, asked them to reenact some of the most memorable scenes (thank you, Josh), and do the truffle shuffle (of course). The looks on their faces seeing each other for the first time, though, was gift enough.

Gad started out by explaining what a “movie theatre” is for those of us who can’t remember and then calls on cast member Sean Astin (Mikey) to help get the band back together (but not before blessing us with a truffle shuffle of his own). Fast-forward through some adorable Olaf reenactments and finally what we’ve all been waiting for — Corey Feldman (Mouth), Jonathan Ke Quan (Data), Martha Plimpton (Stef), Josh Brolin (Brand), Jeff Cohen (Chunk), and the rest of the gang were suddenly together again.

They chatted and were surprised by a few guests including Cyndi Lauper (who sang the movie’s theme song), screenwriter Chris Columbus, director Richard Donner, and executive producer Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately, some of the original stars like John Matuszak, who played the beloved Sloth, and Angelina Ramsey, who played Mama Fratelli, have since passed on, but their memory will live forever in the iconic film.

Of course, any superfan would need to ask about a sequel, and Gad did just that with Spielberg who said, “Every couple of years, we come up with an idea but then it doesn’t hold water. The problem is the bar that all of you raised on this genre, I don’t think we’ve really successfully been able to find an idea that is better than The Goonies that we all made in the ’80s. Until we do, people are just going to have to look at this one 100 times.” Challenge accepted.

 

The reunion is in support of The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and will raise money to help with the coronavirus efforts. It was the first for Gad’s series and now it’s only fair to wonder how he will possibly top this one. “There is one movie that defines my childhood,” Gad said. “One movie that defines my personality. One movie that defines me,” he said.

I think he speaks for all of us who grew up in that era.

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Newborn Photographer Takes ‘Food Baby’ Pictures While Quarantined

Ute-Christin Photography started photographing her takeout the same way she does newborns to fight boredom and help local businesses

When one newborn, children, and family photographer, Ute-Christin Cowan, had to close her doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, she knew it meant no money coming in for the foreseeable future. But that didn’t stop Cowan from supporting her fellow local businesses. So, she decided to start shooting her takeout the same way she does newborns — and the result is absolute perfection.

Ute-Christin Photography is on hiatus in Milford, Conn. through May 20 because of a statewide executive order. With no newborns to photograph and a desire to keep similar small businesses going through this difficult time, Cowan had the idea of ordering food items from local restaurants, dressing them up, and posing them like newborns. And we have to say, these are the cutest food babies we’ve ever seen.

Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography
Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography
Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography

“I wanted to still support our local food businesses because I want them to still be there when this is all over,” Cowan tells Scary Mommy. “I was thinking of a way to support them and also do what I like best, taking pictures!”

Cowan said she called 13 local restaurants and ordered one signature item from their respective menus. “Some delivered and some had curbside pickup,” she said, so she and a friend split the orders in half and picked up the items that weren’t deliverable (at a sensible distance, of course).

Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography
Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography
Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography

Cowan said she took all the items into her home studio, unwrapped each one, lined them up, and came up with creative ways to dress them up.

“I knew I wanted the hotdog swaddled up to give pigs in a blanket a new meaning,” she said, “as well as a bun in the oven.” She shared the photos on her Facebook page, and they were an instant hit.

Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography

Ute said there were several items that stumped her, including everyone’s favorite grilled cheese sandwich. “The grilled cheese gave me the hardest time, but then I was like, ‘The grilled cheese is already awesome on its own, so why mess with that?'” she said. “So, I just added a crown.”

Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography

Perfection.

Our favorite has to be the Anthony Fauci donut from Donut Crazy because this man is a damn hero. He never sleeps (like most actual new moms), and he deserves All Of The Donuts featuring his face.

Photographer Starts Taking Hilarious 'Newborn' Pics Of Her Food Deliveries
Ute-Christin Cowan Photography

What an inspiration Cowan is to spend money on local businesses while being directly impacted herself. Though, the best part, she says, “was being able to eat all those things after I took their picture.”

Here’s hoping when the order is lifted, she’ll have appointments booked for months to come.

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Viral Mousetrap And Ping Pong Ball Video Explains How Social Distancing Works

The video shows the difference between social distancing and not

A sobering video from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State University has gone viral for its depiction of the need for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The short video is a perfect metaphor for what happens when just one person interacts with another in close proximity. In the case of a killer virus — the consequences are devastating and unstoppable. The visualization at the end of the video shows what distance between people can do to help slow the spread.

The video is full of rows and rows full of mousetraps. When a single ping pong ball drops and there is nowhere for anyone to go, you can see the immediate impact one explosion makes on those near it. And so on and so on. The second half shows that with a little distance, the ball has room to move more freely without disturbing any of the traps. It’s a powerful reminder as to why everyone needs to just stay home.

A real-life version of this video played out in Chicago when the virus first made it’s way to the state of Illinois. The CDC has been able to trace back the “super spread” to one man attending a funeral, a birthday party, and a church service. Three of the people he came into contact with later died.

Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, has been credited with flattening the curve in his state when he shut down a fitness expo in Columbus on March 4, days before Trump even acknowledged the virus was a serious threat. Since then, the state has had about 5100 cases, much lower than states similar to Ohio’s size and a fraction of the fatalities.

“Social distancing works,” the state’s health agency posted on Facebook, along with the video which has now been shared more than 400,000 times. Even with all the precautions and necessary social distancing efforts, some feel people will get too comfortable too early and cause a spread of the virus in the state.

“The fear I have is when we have these silent victories, people say COVID-19 was never there to begin with and there never was a threat,” Dr. Acton with the Ohio Department of Health said. “Please know, this battle is still ongoing.”

There is no doubt the continued stay-at-home orders most states have issued make life difficult — not only for many people’s livelihoods — but to our mental health as well. But the video has an impactful message about what could happen if we don’t.

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There’s Going To Be A ‘Tiger King’ Sequel About Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband

Will we finally know what happened to Carole Baskin’s husband?

Anytime you hear the name “Carole Baskin,” a horror movie-like image likely pops to mind — her casually feeding her husband to her tigers. Now Investigation Discovery is taking Tiger King to a whole new level by centering their sequel around what exactly did happen to Baskin’s second husband, Don Lewis.

The Tiger King documentary that has saved us all from a complete and total quarantine meltdown is getting a sequel. Though Netflix recently announced new episodes would be available, the crime cable channel, Investigation Discovery, recently announced an unofficial limited series following Netflix’s already-iconic docuseries.

Of course, any sequel worth watching wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t at least include some footage of Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage and his gaggle of characters, but what people really want to know is what in the hell happened to Carole Baskin’s missing husband?

“Love her or hate her, Carole is now in the center ring of the big cat circus,” ID said in a statement. “Is she a selfless crusader and protector of animals, who found unimaginable strength despite the mysterious disappearance of her husband? Or are we witnessing Carole Baskin’s master plan finally take effect? Despite her claims of innocence, did she orchestrate the disappearance of Don Lewis to seize control of his fortune, consolidate power and lay waste to her foes? No one seems to be talking – except for one man – and that man is the center of ID’s upcoming investigative series.”

The project is titled Investigating the Strange World of Joe Exotic, which promises to show “the investigation you didn’t get to see, revealing the secrets only Joe knows, the exclusive footage that has never been shown and the search to answer the one question every person in America is asking themselves right now: although she’s denied it, is Carole Baskin responsible for the disappearance of her husband, Don Lewis?”

It makes sense the TV network that has brought us shows like Evil Lives Here and In Pursuit With John Walsh would take a stab at solving the world’s most talked about possible murderer — Carole Baskin. “ID is the perfect place to find the inevitable sequel to this drama — featuring a missing husband, a hit man, and the illegal business of exotic animals,” the statement continues. The man at the center of the allegations — Joe Exotic himself — will be interviewed at length and will provide viewers with even more evidence (as he believes it), so that hopefully we can finally put this entire mystery to bed.

There is no word on when the series will be available but I’m pretty sure Tiger King fans will be waiting on pins and needles until it is announced.

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People In NY Flock To Public Parks Despite Social Distancing Orders

New Yorkers continue to flood parks amid coronavirus pandemic

As of today, New York remains at the center of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States, with more than 130,000 cases and 5,400 deaths as of this morning. While the state has been on a strict “stay at home” order from governor Andrew Cuomo since March 22, many are still not adhering to the social distancing guidelines, filling its parks on a daily basis.

Dozens of people were photographed walking through Central Park, jammed together and clearly not obeying the “six feet apart” rule health officials say is critical to stopping the spread of coronavirus. While some can be seen wearing face masks or protective gear, many were not. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advised that all Americans wear face masks while out in public.

John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While Central Park and other public parks have remained open for residents of the city to get fresh air and exercise, it’s clear people aren’t taking the mandates put in place to keep them safe seriously. In mid-March, Cuomo expressed his frustration with the situation. “It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop, and it has to stop now,” he said of people flooding the park. “This is not a joke, and I am not kidding.”

Similar pictures taken along Hudson River Park show crowds of people lingering dangerously close to each other.

John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Cuomo also called the crowds “wholly inappropriate” amid the statewide stay-at-home order. “We talk about social distancing,” he said. “I was in these parks, and you would not know that anything was going on.” Now, weeks later, it seems more will need to be done to prevent people from overcrowding public parks. These images are from just two days ago.

John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images
John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As people deemed “essential workers” put their lives at risk to help save others from the virus, seeing folks out and about living their lives with little regard for who they could be infecting is horrifying. As of this morning, a 12th police officer in New York has died from the virus and dozens of medical personnel have become sick and have to self-quarantine as a result. Until everyone starts taking this seriously and stays home (unless they have to go out for groceries or essential items), all states will see more death and illness that could have been avoided.

John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

New York State reported 731 more deaths Monday, its largest one-day increase. “Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a sister, is a brother,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing in Albany this morning. “So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers.”

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.

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Target To Limit Shoppers In Effort To Stop Spread Of Coronavirus

In addition, Target will provide masks and gloves for all employees

Minneapolis-based retailer (and our home away from home) Target announced this week that it will be implementing new safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus — limiting shoppers allowed in its stores and providing non-surgical masks and gloves to all employees — nationwide.

Beginning Saturday, April 4, it “will actively monitor and, when needed, meter guest traffic in its nearly 1,900 stores nationwide to promote social distancing,” it said in a press release. The numbers will vary by store size and will allow Target “to enhance the average space per person and reduce the possibility of congestion,” the retailer said.

In addition to social distancing measures, Target will also provide “non-surgical face masks and gloves for team members to wear on the job,” saying in part, “We’re incredibly proud of the commitment our more than 350,000 frontline team members have demonstrated to ensure millions of guests can count on Target, and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on supporting them.”

In past weeks, Target reduced its store hours and all stores are now closed by 9 p.m. local time nationwide. The company rolled out a dedicated shopping hour to vulnerable guests on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. That time also allows employees to shop on their own for household supplies and groceries, saying in part, “This is a recognition of our team’s incredible dedication, and our commitment to help all families.”

Beginning Saturday, if a store needs to limit the number of guests, there will be a “designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers,” to help organize shoppers.

“The measures we’re announcing today are aimed at ensuring we are creating a safe environment for the guests who continue to turn to Target, while also providing our team with additional resources as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country,” John Mulligan, Target’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

In addition to equipping its teams, Target is supporting its communities with supplies as needed. “On top of Target’s previous donations of anti-viral and N95 respirator masks to first responders and healthcare professionals at more than 50 organizations across the country, we’ll also donate an additional 2 million KN95 respirator masks to the medical community. And we’ll continue to explore ways to secure additional inventory for those in critical need,” it said in a previous press release.

According to Johns Hopkins, the current cases of coronavirus in the US are over 258,000 with 6,600 dying from the virus as of this morning. With experts saying we won’t see the virus’ peak cases for several weeks, stores like Target and others are leading the way to help prevent the spread and flatten the curve.

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Max Greenfield’s Videos About Homeschooling His Daughter Are Comedy Gold

Max Greenfield is every parent right now

If you’re a fan of New Girl (my 16-year-old daughter says it’s a must-watch), you’re likely already in love with Max Greenfield, who plays Winston Schmidt. But get ready for your heart to grow three sizes bigger because watching him homeschool his daughter is hilariously adorable.

Greenfield and his daughter, Lilly, are doing what we all are — trying our best to navigate the life of homeschool parent/teacher/student without strangling each other in the process. It’s been quite some time since most of us have been in school and, well, it’s showing. The father-of-two has been filling in his fans on the harrowing process on social media (which you must immediately follow) and it’s impossible to watch and not belly laugh.

As the actor takes us through the world of nouns and mustaches (both are tricky), you can see by the look on his face the reality of the situation is starting to set in. But, as Lilly points out, if he hadn’t spent so much time “puff puff puff”ing and “glug glug glug”ing through his own high school and college years, he may make a better teacher.

Another update comes as Greenfield tries (and fails) to read, “The Birchbark House” and his daughter sends a message to her teacher to tattle on him. “My daughter sent this message to her teachers today! Just in case you were wondering what bottom looks like,” he says next to a picture of her note. Busted.

He also shared a riveting video of himself reading a passage to Lilly (who is rightly on her phone) and it’s no wonder she doesn’t understand. He titles this one simply, “shit show” and I can say with every fiber of my being I know exactly how he feels.

View this post on Instagram

Shit Show

A post shared by Max Greenfield (@iammaxgreenfield) on

Lilly soon emerges as the hero we all need in times like these, telling her dad in one video to stop singing because “he has a dog shit voice.”

View this post on Instagram

Wednesday @dualipa #homeschool

A post shared by Max Greenfield (@iammaxgreenfield) on

Then, just when you think things can’t possibly get better, Greenfield eggs her on by asking, “how long does it take to spell Massachusetts,” to which she replies, “Dad, I need your shit like I need a hole in the head.” Bless this child and everyone who has been involved in raising her.

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The vibe in the classroom has deteriorated #homeschool

A post shared by Max Greenfield (@iammaxgreenfield) on

“God bless the teachers (the real ones),” Greenfield captioned one of the videos after he realizes Lilly is both on TikTok and doing dance moves behind him.

View this post on Instagram

God bless the teachers (the real ones) #homeschool

A post shared by Max Greenfield (@iammaxgreenfield) on

This is the entertainment we can all use right now and a much-needed break from our own homeschooling adventures.

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You Can Now Order Girl Scout Cookies Online

Buy some Girl Scout Cookies for yourself and have boxes delivered to those on the front line

The Girls Scouts of USA is doing its part during the coronavirus pandemic to make sure we all have our share of their wonderful cookies while we’re at home — and you can donate boxes to the healthcare workers on the front line, too.

The organization announced Friday it’s now selling Girl Scout Cookies online after it suspended all in-person events during its peak season to help stop the spread of the virus. That means we can support the scouts while eating our weight in Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and Caramel Delights while stuck at home with our families. Sounds like a win-win to me.

“For 108 years, Girl Scouts has been there in times of crisis and turmoil,” Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo said in a statement. “And today we are stepping forward with new initiatives to help girls, their families, and consumers connect, explore, find comfort, and take action.”

GSUSA launched a new campaign called the Girl Scouts Cookie Care program, allowing cookie fans to order as many as their heart’s desire and have them shipped directly to their homes. “And to ensure girls are getting the tools they need to become our world’s ambitious change-makers, the organization also launched Girl Scouts at Home, a national online platform where all girls and families — not just Girl Scout members — can access free, self-guided activities from GSUSA’s expert programming,” the statement said.

“As the country’s expert on girls, Girl Scouts is uniquely poised to help the millions of girls and their families adapting to a new reality. With Girl Scouts at Home, families everywhere can access self-guided, free activities to keep them engaged and connected to their communities and the larger sisterhood of girls,” the organization said.

If you’re trying to limit your sugar intake these days, you can order boxes and have them delivered to first responders, volunteers, hospitals, and other “essential workers” fighting the spread of the virus. “By buying and donating cookies, Girl Scout Cookie fans are helping sustain our life-changing programs for girls — and bringing joy and comfort to those on the frontlines of this crisis,” Acevedo said.

The organization called its Girl Scout Cookie program the “financial lifeblood” that helps it deliver life-changing programming to 1.7 million girls. Many of us look forward to ordering from our favorite Girl Scout or meet neighborhood kids when they come to you door selling cookies but times have changed and these programs are an awesome way to still support them from a distance.

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Workers In 14 Amazon Warehouses Test Positive For Coronavirus

The virus is impacting 14 of Amazon’s locations prompting concern for workers and customers

As more and more people practice social distancing and look to order from companies like Amazon for essential goods, the company announced that 14 of its locations have employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.

In recent days, warehouse workers at two separate sites in New York City (Staten Island and Queens), and workers in Jacksonville, Fla.; Oklahoma City; Brownstown, Mich.; Katy, Tex.; Wallingford, Conn.; and Shepherdsville, Ky., have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Amazon officials. Yesterday, four additional locations in Houston; Edison, New Jersey; Romulus, Michigan; and Shelby Township, Michigan were reported. Amazon operates over 110 warehouses in the US.

Not only is this a problem that could impact deliveries for customers, but lawmakers are calling for additional safety measures for employees who are showing up to work every day in the midst of this pandemic. Amazon responded to claims it wasn’t putting the health and safety of its workers as a number one priority.

“The safety and well-being of Amazon’s employees must be paramount, and given the nature and scope of Amazon’s business, the safety and well-being of the millions of Americans who are Amazon customers are also at stake,” Kristin Lynch, a spokeswoman for Cory Booker, said. Others like Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ilhan Omar echoed their concern.

“Any accusations that we are not properly protecting our employees are simply unfounded,” Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement. “Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping people get critical items that they need in this crisis.” Amazon has announced recently they plan to hire another 100,000 workers to keep up with the increased demand.

On Monday, Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs, also sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper to discuss specific recommendations for customers who may be concerned about receiving packages from Amazon. One recommendation is to wipe down all packages with a disinfectant. The second (if it contains non-perishable items) is to leave the packages outside for longer than the virus can survive, which is believed to be 24 hours on cardboard. Customers should also open packages outside and throw the boxes away immediately.

The retail giant also stated that it has increased how often its warehouses are being cleaned and changed some of its internal practices to ensure social distancing, like staggering shifts and break times. Some facilities that have reported coronavirus cases have been shut down for deep cleaning and others asked to self-quarantine if they were in contact with someone who has been infected. The company is also giving all of its workers in quarantine two weeks’ paid leave.

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