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Holladay Journal

Coping with COVID-19—How three Holladay residents are getting by

Aug 05, 2020 02:43PM ● By Sona Schmidt-Harris

Paul Fotheringham, a member of the Holladay City Council, and his wife Lisa Fotheringham have a son who is autistic. Most of their focus for coping with COVID-19 has to do with protecting their son. (Photo courtesy Megan Fotheringham)

By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]

When COVID-19 made its appearance, it changed everyone’s life, including, of course, Holladay residents.

Three residents discussed their coping methods for getting through this crisis.

Paul Fotheringham, a member of the Holladay City Council, and his wife Lisa Fotheringham have a son who is autistic. Most of their focus for coping with COVID-19 has to do with protecting their son.

“I just went on a river trip,” Paul said. “So to be safe for Jason's (the Fotheringhams’ son with autism) sake…I've been in isolation down in the basement.” Paul ate his meals out on the backyard deck while Lisa ate her meals on the other side of the deck window.

“If he had to be hospitalized and we couldn't be there with him because of the circumstances—he can't communicate, can't understand, he's nonverbal—that would be the end of our world as we know it. So, we have to be very careful,” Lisa said. 

Both Lisa and Paul currently work from home. Lisa has frequently worked from home and is comfortable doing so. Paul, who typically worked onsite, is finding that he likes working from home more than he thought he would.

Lisa thought that it would be challenging managing staff from home. “But that's gone really, really well, and even the deadline that we just had this week which was hectic, we managed that all remotely, and it worked,” she said.

Paul and Lisa have been trying to make sure that they get exercise. “And we give ourselves permission to spend an evening watching Netflix and not feel guilty about it,” she said.  

“I'm spending a lot more time trying to connect daily with my daughter and with my sons who don't live here, making sure that we're in contact all the time, making sure everybody's healthy. Trying to keep track of them, that also makes me feel better,” she said. The Fotheringhams invite their two sons, who live away from the family home, to have dinner out on the deck twice a month. “So that's why we have all these little tables because we set up one for each of the boys here so they're distant from each other,” she said.  

“It's good to be able to see the boys in person, but everything's a lot of effort. You know, they can't just come in the house and sit down at the table,” Lisa added. 

Paul and Lisa have discovered some happy surprises during COVID-19. “We belong to a country club. Our custom has been to have dinner over there on the weekends, but now we get takeout from there and we have it here on our deck, and we find we like our date nights here as much as going over there,” Paul said. 

Another resident, Mark Thompson, copes by enjoying the great outdoors. “My everyday plan is to get out of the house, go to a park, and bring a chair with me so that I can read, bring something to eat and then exercise—just to break the monotony.”  


Thompson added, “If I still drank, I would be drinking a lot. But I’m not.”