Do you recall your first thoughts when we started closing everything down in early 2020?
Is this for Real?
I will be completely honest. I thought it was a joke.
I thought it was people who all needed a vacation jumping on the bandwagon and shutting down businesses.
In fact, I continued to work and kept my business open until it was directly called for my industry to “shelter-in-place,” as it was dubbed in California.
Most of us alive today had no comprehension of what a global pandemic could do – not only to our physical health, but also to our mental health, our worldview, our communities, and the economy.
It’s also been very intriguing to me to watch the different states in the United States with how they’ve handled the pandemic. During this time, Noah and I have lived in two different states with similar worldview – first California and then New York.
However, we also have family in Missouri. And, being from Missouri, I’m reminded of the inherent Libertarian view regarding Chicken Pox as a child. Many parents would purposefully take their children to have playdates with other children who had Chicken Pox. “Get it over with early” was the motto.
And, just like the “good ole days” of pox, our family and friends all ended up with COVID-19. They, “got it over with,” mostly.
We did lose family and friends this year to the pandemic. But, the Missouri mentality has stuck. Get-togethers and ease of day-to-day life is more important to many of them than avoiding the disease, and the common good is seen as normal life rather than eradicating the pandemic.
In traveling to the Midwest, we were shocked at how the precautions differed from our experiences in New York City and California. No masks, no tests and no vaccine requirements in malls, grocery stores, or cinemas. House parties were a big affair. And, indoor dining has been normalized for the past year.
Noah and I were vaccinated early. We wanted to be back to normal life, and, in New York City, vaccines were the way to reach that goal.
So, when big events started happening – we were vaccinated – we went!
With our “hot vax” spring and summer we attended a New York Yankees Game at Yankee Stadium, a Brooklyn Nets Playoff Game at Barclays Center, a Foo Fighters concert to open up Madison Square Garden, and a Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga concert at Radio City Music Hall.
All of these venues were similar: show your vaccination proof, wear your masks when in close quarters, and confirm contact tracing when purchasing your tickets.
Some of my friends in California were shocked when watching the New York games on television. “No one is wearing masks! How do you feel safe?”
According to our state, if you were vaccinated, you WERE safe.
But, oddly, that wasn’t true everywhere.
And, in some places, you were safe even if you WEREN’T vaccinated.
In some places, even getting the vaccine didn’t mean that you could go back to “normal.”
So, what happens now? The Delta variant has the whole world scrambling once again. Those of us who are vaccinated can still pass it on to others who are not, and children are the bigger target of this variant.
And, more variants have already been identified.
PCR and Antigen tests, vaccinations and boosters, and masks are already the new norm for social gatherings in many places.
It will likely only gain traction for future life as the pandemic continues to spiral out of control through much of the world.
What does this mean for big concerts, sporting events, festivals, etc.? Is there a way to enjoy big community events safely?
Is Missouri right? Are we safe as-is?
Does New York have it figured out? Should we require vaccinations?
Or, in the case of California, should we require vaccinations plus testing?
Or, were Noah and I taking our lives (and New Yorkers’ lives) in our hands by attending a large social gathering at all?
If you think about it honestly, the answer to this question is probably going to be largely dependent on where you live and what you’ve been told by your local government.
Until our nation decides on a common goal and common messaging, our citizens will be left scrambling for answers and the guidepost of “truth.”
As we continue to move through what seems like a never-ending plague, I’m curious to see how the next wave is handled. People are done with quarantine. They are living life again. How can we ensure that lives are able to be enjoyed, while hopefully keeping them safe and healthy for the long-term?
For more of my pandemic questions and life, check out our other posts including:
- On the Move During COVID-19
- NYC: Open But Not Running
- Support the Arts During COVID-19
- NYC: Awakening from COVID-19 Slumber
- Toasting the Moon at Home during COVID-19
- Riding the Second Wave of COVID-19
- Toasting the Moon at Home Week 2 During COVID-19
- Toasting the Moon at Home Week 3 During COVID-19
- Pretending, Normalizing, Mistaking…Feeling?
- United We Stand, Apart
- Questions on Quitting Quarantine
Should I Come to New York in 2021?
So, we’re back on the fence for this again due to the Delta Variant. I’ll keep you posted as things change. For now, if you’re coming, make sure to bring your proof of vaccination! This will be REQUIRED for most places you will want visit.
***UPDATE*** On May 17th the MTA Subway System will resume 24/7 service!
***UPADTE***On August 16th restaurants, attractions, and venues will REQUIRE proof of vaccination. They will accept your vaccination card, a photo of the front and back of your vaccination card, or a QR code from your state’s vaccination app – like the New York Excelsior Pass.
***UPDATE*** On September 14th Broadway will be allowed to re-open at 100% capacity. The shows scheduled to resume in September are The Lion King, Wicked, Hamilton, and Ain’t Too Proud.
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!
Noah and Majhon