Go Out Or Not? A Night Out During A Pandemic

Ashley Lynne

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Last night, my boyfriend and I decided to take a risk and go for some Korean BBQ. Where they cook your food on a little grill on the table. We usually get takeout but I wanted to dine-in. We haven't been out in a while and I wanted a change of atmosphere.

There's another wave of COVID and I was a bit worried that the restaurant would be crowded. I was prepared to turn around, but when we got there, there was only one family in the whole restaurant. The tables were separated by makeshift walls of plastic.

The dining room was silent except for the taping of the waitress’s shoes. She takes our order through her mask and then coal was brought to the table for grilling. The other family already left, so it was just Jack and I in an empty restaurant.

The ironic thing about all this is, I wanted to go out to get away from the isolation. Only to be isolated in a public place.

Many people are feeling stir crazy and just want one night away from the house. Yet, with many businesses like clubs and bars still not open, it's almost like there's nowhere to go. And with tensions being high, for some people, it may be dangerous.

So, do you go out or not? That is the question. A very frustrating one at that. You either risk your physical health or stay home and suffer your mental health.

Even if you do go out everything isn't the same anymore. Menus are digital, the staffs' faces hiding behind masks with the store's logo. Popular places have a line going out to the street. The unpopular places look desolate. Everything is permanently shut down.

I also didn't want to tell my friends because the constant finger-wagging and preaching on social media is too much. We have some friends who like to get on their soapbox about staying home but don't seem to talk about how mentally draining it is to wake up and not go anywhere.

If you're an extrovert, I feel your pain. Not being able to go out and meet friends can be depressing. I'm an introvert and even I feel a little antsy when I can't dress up and go into the city for some drinks and conversation. No one really talks about the effects of long-term isolation.

While I understand that many cities don't want to open up completely. There is still a need for social spaces where people can congregate and let off some steam.

But what about going out and potentially infecting someone at home? Yes, this is something to consider if you have an immune compromised person living with you. My boyfriend has COPD and it gets worse in the wintertime. He is also an essential worker, so he's always out in other people's houses. Getting a customer sick because he went to a crowded party wouldn't be a good look.

We were invited to a New Year's Eve party that was full of people in a small space. We opted for the smaller outdoor party at a neighbor's house instead. Pre-COVID we would dress up and head to the city to meet up with friends at our favorite clubs. Hugging our friends and getting close together to take selfies is a thing of the past for us now.

Now it's Jack comes home, we have dinner, then it's TV before bed. It's not as exciting as the anticipation of flashing lights and booming music. But it's the safer route.

I'm not here to tell anyone what to do. But if you are going to go out, you need to be cautious about where you go and how long you stay out. For those who are choosing to stay home, don't judge. Everyone is dealing with this the best way they can.

Not everyone can sit at home and watch the world go by. There are ways to have a night out without potentially spreading or catching COVID.

Trying having get togethers outside with a small group of people. Or use Google to find out if a place is heavily populated and plan on staying for a short time. There's also the local park with its wide, open spaces and clean air.

Whatever you plan to do, do it safely and keep others in mind. I wouldn't shame anyone for going out but I do think those who don't wear masks don't care if they get other people sick or don't understand how severe this is.

No, COVID is not like the flu. I've had the flu mutiple times in my life and it was easy to overcome. Then I had COVID and it was something else. No taste, no smell, and my body felt like I just got ran over by a semi. I lost a classmate to this virus and a friend lost her father recently.

Have fun where you can, but do not take this lightly.

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A writer, artist, and spiritualist just making a way for myself.

Atlanta, GA
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