Week two in the shadow of a pandemic, which, we can safely report, still sucks. There are now more than 300 confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina. Schools are shut down until at least May 15. Gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Gyms and hair and nail salons have been ordered to close. Restaurants and bars are closed, and most of the ones doing takeout and delivery are barely getting by. The state is edging closer to what seems like an inevitable shelter-in-place order.  

The stock market is collapsing, local newspapers are folding, unemployment is shooting through the roof, hospitals don’t have the supplies they need, and the president is a clueless buffoon who will probably get us all killed because his daddy never loved him.  

And if all that weren’t bad enough, we’re also GOOD AND GODDAMN READY to leave our houses again, which we apparently won’t be allowed to do until, like, what, AUGUST?! 

Which is to say, our collective ennui took us to some pretty dark places in the Slack channel this week. 

Deep breath in. Hang in there. Deep breath out. We’ll get through it together. For the second iteration of our infinity-part Social Distancing series, we’re telling what we call Shutdown Stories—short features portraying this bizarre moment through human eyes: people struggling, people adapting, people left behind, even people (allegedly) trying to scam their way through it. 

Hang in there, everyone. The light at the end of the tunnel might be an oncoming train, or it might be actual light. Let’s hope for the latter. It’s all we can do.

In this week’s issue: 

The Joys of Capitalism in a Time of Crisis

Richard Burr Shows Us How to Profit from a Plague

A Local Company Allegedly Tried to Price-Gouge Duke on Much-Needed Masks

After Raleigh’s Hospitality Industry Screeched to a Halt, Businesses Are Trying to Survive

Restaurants Are Suffering. Food Trucks Aren’t Far Behind.

COVID-19 Poses a Big Risk to North Carolina’s Jails and Prisons

No One Tracks People Denied Coronavirus Tests. Last Week, a Durham IT Guy Gave It a Shot.

The Coronavirus Exposes the Urgency of Rethinking Arts Funding

As Students Flee Universities, Contract Workers Are Left Dealing with the Aftermath

Flyers on a Ninth Street Bulletin Board Show Events That Never Were

The Silver Lining of COVID-19 Might Be the Golden Age of Livestreaming

How Not to Shut Down in a Crisis with Durham Musician A.yoni Jeffries

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at jbillman@indyweek.com.

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