by Susan Fried
The weekend of July 4th was also the first official weekend King County dropped all COVID-19 restrictions, and many people in South Seattle looked forward to finally going to their favorite places to meet friends and family and take off their masks (as long as they were vaccinated).
Individual companies could ask customers to wear masks, but many allowed those vaccinated to walk mask-free and trusted them to be honest about whether they were vaccinated or not. Some companies have chosen to encourage customers to continue wearing masks, while others have chosen not to open them fully.
For many South End residents, things almost felt like they had returned to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Pat B., who has lived in Skyway for 50 years and has been coming to Beachcomber Sports Bar and Grill for more than 20 years, was delighted to be back at her favorite neighborhood spot on July 2nd.
She wasn’t the only one at the Beachcomber who’d missed being there. Friends Bernard and Mel said it was the best bar in Seattle and anyone could come and feel safe and welcome. They were happy to be back inside at the bar and watch ESPN on TV.
Island Soul in Columbia City was busy on July 3rd with people eating outside and others choosing to eat inside. Down the street, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream wasn’t fully open, but people could order ice cream through a window in the door. Next door, Chrysanthemum – a children’s clothing store – was open but still needed masks because many of the people in the store were too young to be vaccinated. Ark Lodge Cinemas was open and showing films but required guests to wear masks.
Columbia City was starting to feel alive again.
Up on Beacon Hill, The Station cafe was packed outside, but on a fine 70-degree day, not many people chose to be inside even though it was fully open. The station’s co-owner, Leona Moore-Rodriguez, was sitting outside at a table with her friend Zina Atwood, glad that things were almost back to normal.
In Rainier Beach, Northwest Tap Connection’s Youth Tap Ensemble Dancers were back in their studio rehearsing for the upcoming Seattle Theater Group’s DANCE This, a virtual performance that will premiere on August 13th. Until most of the COVID-19 restrictions were recently lifted, most of the NW Tap Connections courses were online. Students enrolling in summer courses can attend in person as long as they follow health and safety protocols.
We’ll probably have to bring face masks for a while longer, but the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions makes summer 2021 seem like a return to another – and possibly better – normalcy.
Susan Fried is a 40 year old veteran photographer. In addition to weddings, portraits, and commercial work that she did early in her career, she has been the Seattle photographer for Skanner Newspaper for nearly 25 years. Her images have appeared in a variety of publications including the University of Washington Daily, the Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and others. She was a emerald Contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @ fried.susan.
ð¸ Featured Image: Friends Bernard and Mel, regulars at Beachcomber, say they probably spend too much time there but are very happy that they can now sit at the bar and watch games and hang out together like they did before the pandemic have done. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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