If more workers are going to do their jobs from home or from remote settings, even after the pandemic, what becomes of large office spaces? NPR reports that the pandemic could lead to an exodus of workers from downtown and centralized office buildings. That means pain for local tax rolls, and for nearby businesses that rely on foot traffic during lunch hours.

Is this a budding problem for Rochester? And how can office space be reimagined? Our guests explore it:

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Imagine a hard-to-find, intensely Instagrammable houseplant, and something like the monstera deliciosa albo variegata, with its iconic broad-split leaves streaked with white, might come to mind.

Samantha Mills has one in a gold pot on the counter of her shop. “Her name is Betty,” Mills said, a tribute to "The Golden Girls" star Betty White.

Mills is a co-owner of Stem, a new shop at the corner of Alexander Street and Park Avenue specializing in plants like Betty: hard to find and all the rage.

Provided by Abilene

Danny Deutsch is watching the charts. Not the Billboard magazine charts. But The New York Times charts, tracking the new COVID-19 cases. And the COVID-19 deaths.

“It’s not something to trifle with,” he says.

Deutsch is the owner of Abilene Bar & Lounge, the tiny downtown Rochester club that’s offered a stage to local musicians -- and small but intriguing national acts -- for more than a dozen years now. But Abilene has been open and closed and open again throughout this coronavirus pandemic year. And closed again since November.

A new initiative aims to help local restaurant owners during the pandemic. CurAte delivers mystery dinners to customers throughout the Rochester area; the meals are made by local restaurants -- many of them minority-owned businesses. CurAte's founders say they want to help restaurants survive the pandemic, and by taking the customer work and deliveries off of their plates, restaurants can focus on making meals.

This hour, we talk about CurAte, the restaurants they've worked with, and the state of the industry during the pandemic. Our guests:

Research shows the pandemic has had significant mental health burdens on young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63 percent of 18-24-year-olds surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25 percent reporting increased substance use to deal with that stress. 25 percent said they seriously considered suicide.

This hour, we talk to mental health experts about this issue, as well as young people who share their personal experiences. Our guests:

  • Megan Clifford, psychotherapist and mental health first aid instructor.
  • Soren Kilmer, student at Nazareth College
  • Julia Smith, contributing writer 585 Magazine and recent Nazareth College graduate

More American workers are doing their jobs from home than ever before, thanks to the pandemic. Skeptical managers have had a chance to see a full year's worth of evidence about whether remote work can be productive. Now, more workers, particularly younger workers, are seeking out jobs that allow for flexible schedules and working from home.

How sustainable is that arrangement? Our guests discuss it:

We have a discussion about pandemic ethics. University of Rochester Professor Richard Dees joins us to discuss the allocation of resources, the lessons we've learned when it comes to making ethical decisions, and how those lessons can be applied to future health crises. Our guest:

  • Richard Dees, associate professor of philosophy and bioethics, and director of the Program in Bioethics at the University of Rochester

Research shows fewer high school seniors have applied to college during the pandemic, and the students who have been impacted the most are those from lower-income backgrounds. The data indicates that these students were more likely to be affected by financial challenges related to the pandemic, and also by direct health risks from the virus. Experts say the current disparity will contribute to education and wealth gaps in the long term.

What can be done? Our guests explain the challenges and share their ideas for how to support students. Our guests:

We're joined by the co-leaders of the Finger Lakes Vaccine Task Force. They discuss the state of vaccine supply and distribution, and what you need to know when it's your turn to schedule an appointment. They also discuss how they are working to ensure access to the vaccine is equitable.

Our guests:

The Cinema Theater in Rochester announced Thursday that it is closing its doors...at least for now. Movie theaters across the country are navigating restrictions, including films being streamed on digital platforms, rather than screened in brick-and-mortar spaces. What does it mean for the future of movie theaters?

Our guests discuss it: