With climbing vaccinations and dwindling virus cases, Americans from Honolulu to Sumter, S.C., have begun to return to the things they did before — the nights out, religious services and annual traditions that made life richer. But after a year of isolation, it has all been a bit uncertain, both familiar and not quite.
“Even doing normal isn’t normal,” said Amy Holson-Schwartz, 37, who took her family to an annual sheepshearing event on a farm in Vermont that was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. She said it was odd to see other children’s uncovered faces in public and watched as her 18-month-old daughter, whose 10-word lexicon includes “mask,” gawked at other babies.
“She’s had no interaction with other kids,” Ms. Holson-Schwartz said.
Photographers for The Times documented Americans re-emerging in all 50 states in recent weeks. The approach to reopening has been much like the nation’s patchwork response to the virus: conflicting guidance, competing narratives and Americans left to gauge their own comfort levels.
Ashlee Wolsky, 23 and fully vaccinated, felt comfortable attending the reopening of Arthur’s Barn in Arthur, N.D., where revelers flipped one another over on the crowded floor of the honky-tonk. The old routine of dressing up to go out on a Friday night felt newly charged. “It had a different level of excitement that I haven’t felt before,” she said.
She delighted in seeing an older couple she recognized, dancing. “You don’t know anything about them, but it’s a familiar face in the barn,” she said. “It’s a touch of normal.”
— Aidan Gardiner
McClurg jam moved their mountain music sessions outdoors. In November, cold weather and safety concerns halted the weekly jams that have been going for decades, but a warm spring brought the music back.
“There’s a lot of good musicians in these hills if you can just get ’em out,” said Alvie Dooms, far left.
several months, easing restrictions on crowd sizes and live entertainment have allowed many performers to return to familiar venues.