The pandemic isn’t over; plenty of places around the world continue to suffer high rates of COVID infections, and even in the U.S., vaccination rates are not high enough to qualify us for herd immunity, which means both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can catch the virus. Still, after almost 18 months under strict social distancing mandates, most folks are ready to celebrate the summer months with a bit more style than they could this time last year.
As long as infection rates in your area remain low, you should be able to get out and enjoy your summer season more in 2021 than you did in 2020. Here are a few ideas for activities that should be safe for you and your community during the best time of year:
At this point, you are running out of good reasons to avoid the COVID vaccine. Now that the most at-risk populations have received their jab, there are plenty of available appointments for you to sneak in and save yourself from severe disease. Even if you suspect that you wouldn’t succumb to serious symptoms of a COVID infection, you might as well get vaccinated to reduce the likelihood of becoming a source of virus mutations, which could negate the effectiveness of the vaccine for everyone.
If you still aren’t convinced that the vaccine is the right choice for your health and your community, you shouldn’t turn to social media for more information; you should talk to your trusted healthcare provider. They will listen to your concerns and answer your questions. Ultimately, they might agree that the vaccine isn’t the right choice for you, and that you should instead continue physically distancing to reduce the spread of the virus. However, you might be surprised by what you learn about the benefits of vaccination, not just for you but for the rest of the world, too.
Try Something New at Home
While you are waiting for your vaccine to kick in — or if you have decided to continue socially distancing until the U.S. reaches herd immunity — you will need to keep yourself entertained at home. While you have endured more than a year of home-based activities, there are surely some hobbies you haven’t tried yet, such as:
At the start of 2021, more states gained recreational cannabis regulations. If you live in Arizona, you might visit a dispensary in Tucson and pick up some legal cannabis goodies. Elsewhere, you might try growing your own cannabis plants indoors or experiment with consumption methods you haven’t tried before.
Jellies, jams, pickles and other preserves are remarkably easy to make. You can fill up your pantry (and your neighbors’ pantries) with jars of delicious preserved foods in an afternoon or two, and you can tinker with recipes to get the exact perfect mix of spices to impress.
It sounds like a hobby for old ladies, but the truth is that having cherished photographs together in an album makes reliving memories that much more fun. You don’t have to do all the fancy paper crafts if you don’t want to — but seeing a page come together is more rewarding than you might think.
Too many people neglect their creative side, believing they don’t have enough talent to attempt hobbies like drawing, watercolors, oil paints and the like. Yet, you don’t need to be objectively good to find joy in art, so you might as well pick up some supplies from your local art store.
Support Local Businesses
Once you are fully vaccinated — which occurs two weeks after your final dose — you can emerge back into the world. However, instead of spending your hours shopping at the mall or within big box stores like Target, you should pay more attention to the local businesses that fill your town. The pandemic was particularly brutal to small businesses, which saw a spike of 200,000 additional closures as a result of lockdowns and related concerns.
If you have any spare stimulus cash, you might set some aside to patronize your favorite local restaurant or clothing boutique. Even better, you should commit to eating and shopping local for the rest of the summer, which will not only keep your favorite small businesses afloat but will also help your community thrive.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated itsrecommendations for travel, suggesting that those who are fully vaccinated can travel domestically without receiving a negative COVID test or self-quarantining afterwards. If you do travel, you should follow any rules in place at your destination — masks, distancing, washing hands, testing, etc.
Though some international destinations are welcoming American travelers, it is best to postpone your visits outside the country until vaccination rates are up elsewhere and inside the U.S. It might be frustrating to hear, but you might have to restrain yourself this summer, so that we can enjoy a totally normal summer 2022.