Home Improvement: How home design trends are evolving for social distancing – Salisbury Post

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COVID-19 has brought changes to everything, and home design is no exception. Experts are expecting to see lasting impacts on everything from the materials we use to the rooms we prioritize. Check out these and other noteworthy trends:

Houses over apartments: Many people who live in condos or apartments do so to be closer to the action — work, entertainment and shops — and never planned on spending much time at home. But the pandemic has changed that, and more people are going to want a home that offers plenty of room and outdoor space in case they need to self-isolate again.

Self-sufficiency: A hard lesson we’ve learned is that things and services we thought we could count on aren’t necessarily a sure thing, so items that increase self-reliance will become very popular. Expect to see more homes with sources of energy like solar panels, sources of heat like fireplaces and stoves, and even urban and indoor gardens that allow you to grow your own produce.

Outdoor living: Between playgrounds closing and parks becoming overcrowded, many of us are turning to our balconies, patios and backyards for fresh air and nature. This means we’re going to be investing more in our outdoor spaces, with functional kitchens, soothing water features, cozy firepits, and high-quality outdoor furniture to create a much-needed escape.

Healthier spaces: Thanks to spending more time indoors and reprioritizing our health, we’ll turn to design to help ensure our homes are safe and healthy for our families. We’ll see a rise in products like water filtration systems as well as materials that improve indoor air quality. For new homes and additions, alternatives to wood-framing like insulated concrete forms from Nudura, which offer improved ventilation for healthier indoor air quality and an environment that’s less susceptible to mold, will be key.

Home office space: Business experts are suggesting many companies will see that working from home is not only possible but offers tangible benefits, like saving money on office space rent. With working from home on the rise, creating a home office space that inspires productivity will be a major project many of us tackle. Luxury home office furniture that feels chic and blends into your décor as well as ergonomic chairs and desks will see a major boost.

Custom and quality: With the hit to the economy, people are going to be buying less, but what they do buy will be better quality, while at the same time making an effort to support American businesses. When it comes to design, trends will shift to locally made furniture, custom-built homes and pieces and materials that stand the test of time. Find more information at nudura.com.

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Trump plans mass events in Wisconsin where White House task force calls for social distancing.

Wisconsin is listed in the document as the state with the third-highest rate of new cases in the country, with 243 new cases per 100,000 people over the previous week, about 2.6 times greater than the national average. Ahead of Trump’s scheduled rally in Green Bay, the Bellin Health System said Tuesday that its hospital in that city is at 94 percent capacity as covid-19 continues to spike in the community.

“During the intense period of viral surge, large numbers of acutely infected individuals caused exponential growth in infections,” the task force report reads in a section about Wisconsin. “Although young adults are the most affected group currently, spread to other age groups is inevitable.”

The task force report, which is sent to the leaders of all 50 states and D.C., is distributed weekly with specific recommendations for curtailing the spread of the coronavirus, along with progress reports on testing and county-by-county assessments of the prevalence of the virus. The reports are not made public.

The debate over whether Trump should gather large crowds comes as the president faced off against his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, for the first presidential debate, offering sharply different opinions on whether public health recommendations against large crowds are justified.

During Tuesday’s debate, Trump defended his events as opportunities for his supporters to gather to hear him and claimed that there has been “no negative effect” from his rallies, even though health officials in Tulsa said a spike in covid-19 cases was “likely” sparked by an indoor Trump gathering in June.

The president also said he was “okay with masks” but falsely claimed that scientists are divided over their value. Health experts have said mask-wearing, hand-washing, social distancing and being careful about crowds currently make up the best defense against the virus.

Biden, by contrast, said Trump has been “totally irresponsible” in the way he has handled social distancing and masks, and in holding large rallies.

“Basically he has been a fool on this,” Biden said of Trump.

“If you could get the crowds, you would have done the same thing,” the president responded. “But you can’t. Nobody can.”

In addition to the White House task force’s guidance, local concern has been growing in Wisconsin about Trump’s planned events, which are scheduled for outdoor airplane hangars without universal mask mandates. Gov. Tony Evers (D) said Tuesday in a news briefing that Trump should either cancel the events or require mask-wearing by everyone who attends.

“This virus is real, and it is devastating our communities, and it will continue to do so until we all get on the same team,” Evers said in a press call about the recent spike in the state’s cases.

He told Wisconsin residents that wearing a mask is not a substitute for social distancing or staying at home, and he asked them to cancel family barbecues, play dates or dinner parties, and make all large gatherings virtual.

Ryan Westergaard, the state’s chief medical officer, said Tuesday that Wisconsin is “in a

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Top Trump officials seen not wearing masks or social distancing at White House Supreme Court announcement

Many of the guests for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination announcement arrived at Saturday’s event with masks on, but as the Rose Garden event got underway, masks were virtually non-existent.



Alex Azar, Eugene Scalia are posing for a picture: From right, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greet people after President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, on Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


© Alex Brandon/AP
From right, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greet people after President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, on Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Some of the Trump administration’s top health officials, as well as other attendees, were seen not wearing masks or social distancing at the highest-profile event at the White House since the Republican National Convention in August.

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Seats for guests in the White House Rose Garden at the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett also did not appear spaced apart the recommended six feet, CNN reporters observed, as US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 200,000.

The event stood in striking contrast with the ceremonies earlier this week at the Supreme Court and US Capitol honoring the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, where many attendees at both events wore masks and were careful interacting with one another. Trump, who went mask-less for Saturday’s event, wore a face covering when he paid respects to Ginsburg this week.

Alex Azar, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, put on a mask at one point during Trump’s speech announcing the President is nominating Barrett as the nominee.

But as he left the ceremony, the nation’s top health official fist-bumped without a mask on — going against the health recommendations he has espoused during the pandemic. Azar has repeatedly encouraged Americans to wear a facial covering and to practice social distancing.

CNN has reached out to HHS for comment.

Top administration officials, including Attorney General William Barr and Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist who is the latest addition to the White House coronavirus task force, were also seen without masks, shaking hands and interacting closely with other attendees.

Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Saturday that “for one of the leaders of our country, of our Health and Human Services, walking around without a mask just sends the wrong message.”

“It is essential for all of us who hold positions of influence in healthcare and government, or just in media to wear masks when we’re out in public, to send that right message because that’s the only way that, right now, that we’re going to combat and succeed against this virus,” she said.

Ahead of the event, White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN Saturday that anyone in close proximity to the President will be tested for Covid-19, and that there will be social distancing measures.

But two of Barrett’s colleagues at Notre Dame, who attended the Rose Garden event and were seated toward the front of the audience, said they were not tested

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Muscle Maker Grill’s ‘Ghost Kitchen’ Restaurant Model Is Riding The Wave Of Social Distancing (NASDAQ:GRIL)

There is a whole ecosystem benefiting from social distancing. Muscle Maker Grill (GRIL) could possibly become the poster child for it.

No one anticipated COVID-19 would have turned our way of life upside down, normal routines such as shopping, gathering and eating out had almost become obsolete. The transition to online ordering took a quantum leap over the past 6 months.

It all started with Domino’s (DPZ) when they announced that they were hiring 10,000 workers to keep up with the demand for delivery during the outbreak. As shelter-in-place orders have lifted, sales are recovering and many chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), McDonald’s (MCD), Yum Brands Inc. (YUM), Starbucks (SBUX), and Shake Shack (SHAK) are trying to get their piece of pie.

These fast food chains are ramping up hiring and investing in mobile ordering and delivery infrastructure, catering to consumers desire to dine at home. Many businesses have struggled during and coming out of mandatory state lockdowns due to the pandemic. But Muscle Maker Grill’s “Ghost Kitchen” strategy may be a survival solution for the declining restaurant industry.

COVID-19 and the Re-Opening Struggle

Covid-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into the mix.

Most restaurants have been struggling to stay afloat and only have options of curbside pick-up and delivery. In order for them to make the same amount of money using the social distancing guidelines, they need more space and that costs more money. Owners have gotten creative and with the help of gazebo and circus style tent canopies along with outdoor tables and chairs, were able to open for business under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

But analysts are particularly concerned about the coming winter, which will eliminate these outdoor seating options for many restaurants, and about the demise of the extra $600 in unemployment benefits that had been available for jobless Americans. Eating is a necessity, but eating out may become a luxury. How long Covid-19 lingers, and the state of the economy will be major factors in shaping the recovering in this sector.

No matter where you look the job market is challenging. The restaurant sector really took a hit during the shutdown, but new stats are optimistically trending higher. Restaurant cooks and managers were some of the most in-demand jobs in June, as fast-food chains like Chipotle and Dunkin’ have been staffing up as sales recover. In mid-July, Chipotle announced that it is hiring 10,000 workers. Positions will include “hourly and salaried management positions as well as crew,” according to the company’s press release. Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) is also on a hiring spree and looking to add 25,000 people to its workforce, including counter staff and managers, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile Muscle Maker Grill is in expansion mode with a cost-effective new strategy to open “ghost kitchens.” It has also delayed its expansion plans for dine in restaurants. In February they completed an IPO, raising $7.7 million to execute their growth and turnaround strategy.

Their timing couldn’t have been better in regards to raising

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A beer garden with social distancing coming to Pittsburgh’s South Side

In the waning days of summer, people often find themselves trying desperately to hang on to the things that go with the warm season. Kenny Gould is no different.

Gould, an entrepreneur, beer lover, writer and founder of Hop Culture Magazine, had been dreaming about doing a pop-up beer garden down by the riverfront. As the covid-19 addled summer of 2020 wore on, that dream morphed into doing some type of Oktoberfest event. That’s when The Highline, an office/retail complex with an elevated riverfront green space on the South Side, entered the picture.

“I wasn’t really thinking about it until the Highline got in touch with me and asked me if I was interested in using the space to throw a craft beer festival,” said Gould.

Despite having organized some 30 beer festivals around the country, Gould was not convinced that this was a good idea.

“I said ‘I’m not throwing another beer festival for at least a dozen months just because of everything that’s going on,’” said Gould. “But then I told them I was thinking about this other idea that I think could be done in a really safe way and could be really fun.”

The idea, a beer garden with safe social distancing built in, becomes a reality this Friday when Lagerlands Socially Distant Beer Garden opens to the public. Hop Culture Magazine is joining forces with Cinderlands Beer Co., De Fer Coffee and Tea and Burgh’ers Brewing, maker of burgers and other snacks, to bring it all to life.

The beer garden will be open at The Highline’s outdoor space at 339 McKean St from September 11 through November 1, rain or shine.

The space, which is family-friendly and open to pets, can accommodate 100 people at a time. In order to operate safely and prevent overcrowding, organizers are using an online reservation system. The beer garden is open 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Everyone is required to bring a mask.

“It’s really easy to think of this as not normal but for now, at least, this is normal,” said Gould. “Pittsburgh has a pretty long history of working really hard and making things work and hopefully we’re doing justice to that tradition with this event.”

As for entertainment, Gould is looking at bringing in jazz musicians and has also bought a projector and a 20 foot inflatable screen to show family friendly movies.

“It’s something I’m really excited about” Gould said. “Not only that but to be able to hire a dozen people and probably more on Saturdays and Sundays, people who are looking for work, people who are in the food and hospitality industry who may have been furloughed or put out of work, is pretty cool as well.”

For more information, email Gould at [email protected]

Paul Guggenheimer is

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