Millennials in coronavirus lockdown flee big cities for hometowns

Coronavirus causes young professionals to rethink isolating in their city apartments

Millennials and Gen Z who live and work in the big city are hunkering down with their parents amid the extreme slowdown caused by the novel coronavirus.

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With many employers instituting work-from-home policies in March, these young professionals are taking advantage of their ability to work anywhere by spending time with family — even if it means making video calls with customers from a butterfly-themed childhood bedroom.

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"Everyone commented on my pretty room during a video call," Briana Marcinauskis, 22, told FOX Business.

Marcinauskis works in technology sales in Washington, D.C., and decided to road trip to her family's home in Shelton, Connecticut, after she was told to work from home on March 13.

Law student Cooper Millhouse shows his online class setup at his parents' house in northern Virginia. (Photo by Cooper Millhouse)

"I was getting kind of ridden down with a lot of anxiety about what could go on for the next couple weeks," she said. "I thought I would feel the safest and be the calmest at my house in Connecticut with my family."

The Marcinauskis household is back up to four after her 20-year-old brother was sent home from college. Her parents are either working from home or on a reduced schedule, she said.

One of the strangest parts of the experience was the quiet roads on her drive to Connecticut.

"There was definitely no traffic, which is something I'm not used to," Marcinauskis said.

Katie Blitz, 25, had less of a trek to get to her family home on Staten Island. The Brooklyn resident works in public relations and is isolating with her parents for the time being.

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She's had to adapt when the occasional work call comes up at dinnertime, but the family breakfast and easy access to laundry are undeniable perks, Blitz said.

She thinks the virus pandemic could show employers that "working from home is something many of us can do and can do well."

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"It's shown me and a lot of other people that working from home isn’t as different as you may think," Blitz said.

Law student Cooper Millhouse, 22, chose to stay with his family during the coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Kim Millhouse)

D.C. residents Cooper and Alexis Millhouse had a third member of their household in mind when they decided to stay at his family's home in northern Virginia: their labrador retriever puppy, Bella.

Cooper Millhouse is a student at the George Washington University Law School and can do all of his schooling online, while his wife, Alexis Millhouse, a physical therapy technician, is commuting into Washington, D.C., a few days a week.

Washington, D.C., law student Cooper Millhouse and physical therapy technician Alexis Millhouse are staying with family amid the virus lockdown so that their dog, Bella, has room to run. (Photo by Cooper Millhouse)

"It was more of an opportunity to be out in the country than it was a decision from fear of the virus," Cooper Millhouse said. "We've upgraded from a studio apartment to a seven-bedroom house with a finished basement. Our dog has about 4 acres to run around and that's a huge reason we came out here."

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His three younger siblings are at home too, and his father's working from home. Add three dogs into the mix, and it's a chaotic but happy getaway, even if the internet speed is a little slow. He's taking life one day at a time since he and his wife are still paying rent on their apartment and don't know how long it will be before a return to normalcy.

"Nine months living in the city is enough time to make it feel like home," Millhouse said. "I like being out here and it's relaxing for its own reasons, but it's not home anymore. It's my parents' house and that's all it'll be from now on."

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