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To pay or not to pay? A coronavirus conundrum

Peter Rowe, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

SAN DIEGO -- Melodie Holmen really wanted to have her hair cut and colored Saturday, and her hairdresser was eager to comply.

But Holmen's spouse is a cancer survivor. Spending time with another person, the San Diego resident felt, was just too risky.

"So when I mentioned my husband's health as a concern, she immediately understood," Holmen wrote in a recent online exchange. "But she needs to pay her bills, too ... "

What to do?

In the coronavirus era, business owners are not the only ones weighing their obligations to their employees. Ordinary San Diegans wonder what to do about people they pay for a wide range of regular services -- child care, massages, house cleaning, physical training -- that are suddenly unavailable or inadvisable.

Maybe you've been laid off or have pressing financial needs. But, as Holmen said, these people have bills, too.


Then there's the money spent on tickets to Padres games, theater and opera productions, annual passes to SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo, memberships to museums and other currently closed attractions.

If we ask for refunds, will we cripple these enterprises, which still need to pay rent, utilities, salaries and other expenses?

What is our responsibility to the greater community?

"That's the thing about crisis situations," said Lawrence Hinman, a University of San Diego philosophy professor emeritus. "Pretty quickly you find out who you really are, and who other people really are."


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