The Fourth of July weekend was also the first official weekend that King County dropped all COVID-19 restrictions, and many people in South Seattle were excited to finally go to their favorite places, sit down across from friends and family, and take their masks off (as long as they’d been vaccinated).
Individual businesses could ask customers to wear masks, but many allowed those who had been vaccinated to go mask free, trusting them to be honest about whether they’d been vaccinated or not. Some businesses chose to ask patrons to continue wearing masks while others opted to not fully open.
For many South End residents, things almost felt like they were back to a pre-pandemic normal.
Pat B., who’s been living in Skyway for 50 years and coming to the Beachcomber Sports Bar and Grill for more than 20 years, was happy to be back in her favorite neighborhood establishment on July 2.
She wasn’t the only one at the Beachcomber who had missed being there. Friends Bernard and Mel said that it was the best bar in Seattle and that anybody could come there and feel safe and welcomed. They were glad to be back inside sitting at the bar and watching ESPN on TV.
Island Soul in Columbia City was busy on July 3 with people eating in their outdoor area and others opting to eat inside. Down the street, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream hadn’t fully opened, but people could order ice cream through a window in the door. Next door, Chrysanthemum — a children’s clothing store — was open but still required masks because many of the people in the store were too young to be vaccinated. Ark Lodge Cinemas was open and screening films but required the guests to wear masks.
Columbia City was starting to feel alive again.
Up on Beacon Hill, The Station coffee shop was busy on the outside but on a beautiful mid-70 degree day, not many people chose to be inside even though it was fully open for business. The Station co-owner Leona Moore-Rodriguez sat at a table outside with her friend Zina Atwood, happy to have things almost back to normal.
In Rainier Beach, Northwest Tap Connection’s Youth Tap Ensemble Dancers were back at their studio rehearsing for the upcoming Seattle Theatre Group’s ’s DANCE This, a virtual performance that will premiere Aug. 13. Until the recent removal of most of the COVID-19 restrictions, most of NW Tap Connections classes had been online. Students signing up for summer classes will be able to attend in person as long as they follow health and safety protocols.
We’ll probably still need to bring face masks with us for a while, but the removal of most COVID-19 restrictions is making the summer of 2021 look like a return to a different — and possibly better — normal.
Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, commercial work — plus she’s been The Skanner’s Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washington Daily, the Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.
Featured Image: Friends Bernard and Mel, regulars at the 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 pre-pandemic. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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