Casual cat in car

Note from Cruzio’s CEO

Recap: on March 17th, 2020, Cruzio sent employees home and closed our coworking doors to all but essential workers. Those among us who were pessimistic spoke darkly of months of closure. Even the most negative didn’t foresee over a year of distancing, masks, and lost shops and restaurants.

Our Network Has Been Busier

Internet is an essential business, so Cruzio stayed mostly open while taking many safety measures. Our onsite technicians followed a strict set of protocols when working at people’s homes and offices. We expanded our Equal Access Santa Cruz (EASC) program to get internet to hard-to-reach places around the Central Coast, with added urgency as we saw schoolkids having trouble participating in their suddenly online classes. We were able to extend internet to low income housing and migrant farm camps and, with our community’s help, we’ve made a difference to many families — and more each month.

Our Building Has Been Quieter

Cruzioworks, our coworking space, protected members and staff by keeping occupancy to a minimum, putting strong HEPA filters on our air conditioning units, and sanitizing obsessively. We put tables and chairs outside so folks could meet in the fresh air  — an amenity so pleasant we’ll keep it in the future. Our onsite cafe closed — for a few weeks, then a month, then indefinitely. We’re still waiting for it to open, it’s the best little cafe in town. Our busy meeting rooms were limited to just a few occupants at a time.

Our neighbors in the building, the cheerful folks from Ecology Action, went home to work as well. The building has felt kind of empty. Not completely shut down but quieter and darker.

Last August/September, as fires raced down the Santa Cruz Mountains, several Cruzio employees were forced from their homes. We put a few up in the office. Colleagues lent air mattresses and they camped out, waiting for days for the signal to go back home. A long-time coworker’s house burned to the ground. The air itself choked us. Those days were shocking and sad.

Like so many people and businesses, as the pandemic months stretched on our daily lives changed radically.

Our Community’s Recovering, But in a Sputtering Way

And now we’re out of those worst times (really, the fire was the worst, right?) but we’re in a a sort of limbo.

Last month, a change back to normal seemed hopeful. Mask ordinances lifted. We scrubbed off the social distancing stickers on our floor and stopped locking our front door during business hours. We started planning a marketing campaign: “Reboot.” The idea, and what we talk about every day: how can we help to revive the Santa Cruz County economy with faster internet, price breaks, and expanded service? We’d like to see the shopping streets busy and lively again. We want to help.

But as the Delta variant pushes up the number infected, it’s clear we still need to be careful. Shops and theaters need to keep things slowed down a bit.

Internet work’s not slowing, of course. In fact quite the opposite. We’re hard at work getting things to go faster. It’s an inverse proportion: the more people can’t go out, the more internet they need. Closed theaters means more Netflix. Working from home means more Zoom. So we’re busy.

In the next few months I hope I’ll be able to send the “reboot” message we were planning for this month. Fingers crossed. Stay well!