On March 15, 2020, everything in the state of Maryland began shutting down, including restaurants, bars, clubs, malls, gyms, movie theaters, schools, and any other establishment not deemed to be not an essential business. This basically meant only grocery stores and gas stations remained open.
Also, with this drastic change came a mandatory mask mandate that the country hasn’t seen in 100 years. In Baltimore City alone, we were only able to partake in carryout food. All major forms of entertainment closed for three months.
For students at UB, we entered spring break a week early and were initially told that we would return in two weeks. Well, the last time I stepped foot on campus was over a year ago, as I have been attending Zoom University ever since.
With that anniversary coming up, I figured we’d take a look back at our first last year living through the Covid-19 pandemic.
To understand the pandemic, we also have to look at how much happened from early 2020 to where we are now.
We’ve experienced great losses of life like Kobe Bryant, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Chadwick Boseman, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Eddie Van Halen, and Alex Trebek. We have also weathered some serious natural disasters like the Australia bushfires, the Westcoast wild fires, the Beirut explosion, Murder Hornets, and a massive winter storm that decimated Texas.
To note less severe world happenings, we’ve seen the stock market crash, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave the Royal Family, the impeachment of Donald Trump not once but twice, and a massive outcry for social justice during the Black Lives Matter protests.
Needless to say, 2020 was a complete dumpster fire of a year. However, the pandemic also offered some positive changes in the world.
Look at how the pandemic has affected our major holidays traditions in the last year. Opening day for baseball was canceled, the NBA was forced to bubble, and the Olympics were postponed, as were most major music festivals and even some NFL games. Some sports have semi-recovered, the capacity limits for fans have dropped drastically compared to what we are used to.
Another thing we haven’t seen in years was the closure of major amusement parks, the largest being Disneyworld. These parks have now been converted to mass vaccination sites, along with major event facilities such as Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.
We’ve also seen the strict enforcement of capacity limits in local bars and clubs. This makes the overall outgoing experience drastically different, but people have become accustomed to these relaxing open spaces given the lack of body to body contact they’re usually subjected to.
Another industry that has been greatly impacted by the coronavirus is television and film. Back in February 2020, most major film and TV productions went on hiatus. This resulted in major premiere delays and some television shows not being able to finish their seasons. Over time, most film and TV staff were able to return to set. However, in one instance, constant delays hit the new Batman movie directed by Matt Reeves, which saw multiple Covid outbreaks on set. Throughout other major film studios such as Disney/Marvel, similar delays have lasted over a year. This has largely affected movie theaters all across the world. Many small theaters have closed permanently while larger chains fight to stay alive.
With the pandemic now easing up and public access to theaters returning, reserving a whole movie theater for yourself is easier than ever. Also, with the rising demand for online streaming, subscribers can now watch more major blockbuster films than ever from the comfort of their own homes on premier platforms like Disney Plus and HBOMax.
When it comes to work and education, we’ve all been confined to our homes to get our work done. This has created an opportune environment where you’re able to complete your work from anywhere in the world. People have been leaving the cities in droves, causing the housing market to boom for the first time in years. Major corporations have extended work from home programs for their employees until 2022 and beyond. In some ways this has made life easier for all, especially those no longer paying rent for office space.
This pandemic has taken a lot from people but also has made life a bit different in some positive ways as well.
CJ Rhem is a senior writer for The Sting.