LYNNWOOD, Wash., July 19, 2021 – Governor Jay Inslee reopened Washington state June 30, under the Washington Ready plan, just in time for a beautiful Fourth of July weekend. For many Lynnwood residents it was the first time they could socialize with friends and family in over year.
“I definitely missed the concerts. That was the most heartbreaking [over the past year],” Rue, of Lynnwood said.
Rue had purchased tickets to the Harry Styles show at the Tacoma Dome that was postponed after the state shutdown. She was sad to miss celebrating Pride month this year but looks forward to celebrating next year and going back to the movies with friends now that Washington state reopened. She celebrated the first open weekend by going out to dinner with her family in Seattle.
Yoel Solomon and his friend Yones, two seniors who recently graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School, celebrated their first open weekend by going to Alderwood Mall with no masks.
Under phase 2, Alderwood Mall reopened a year ago, June 10, 2020. This was the first-time masks were optional for vaccinated people and social distancing precautions were lifted. At its opening a year ago, the mall was still operating at 30% capacity and only 40 of its 160 retail and restaurants were open.
“Our last year in high school was kinda ruined,” Solomon said. “It was sad because you couldn’t really see everyone and it was our last chance. We still ended up having our prom, but you couldn’t get close to anyone so it kinda defeated the point.”
The two graduated seniors missed having a normal senior year because it was something they could never get back. Although they thought the hybrid classes and remote learning lacked in both content and socialization, they agreed it was something “out of [their] control.”
“I’m just looking forward for things to go back to normal,” Yones added.
Lynnwood residents Gerardo, Charlie, and Bryan all turned twenty-one during the quarantine and are looking forward to taking advantage of experiencing nightlife for the first time. The first thing they did when Washington state reopened was go out to a bar for a drink and took a trip to Las Vegas.
“I’m pretty young. I turned twenty-one when we were all in quarantine so I’m just looking forward to seeing the nightlife in and around Seattle, and just being young,” Gerado said, who looks forward to not having to wear a mask everywhere.
“When we were at work, we would always have to wear a face mask,” Charlie, an ironworker, added. “I work up on the iron and it was really annoying when my glasses would always get fogged up. And they made it a big deal having to stay six feet apart but sometimes we’d just have to work close together.”
Lynnwood senior residents Richard and Sterling, on the other hand, didn’t experience much change since the state locked down.
“When I go out to stores, I bring my mask with me,” Richard said. “I respect other people’s space with six feet. I’m still in pandemic-mode. I guess the only difference is it feels a bit freer. Folks are getting out and about a bit more.”
Richard attributed the reopening of the state to economic wellbeing.
“The way I see it, is it’s more an opening of the economy, which there’s a need for,” Rich told the Lynnwood Times. “People need to work and people need jobs so if that’s the benefit of opening up the state I can see that. But this won’t be the last pandemic. There will be something new next year. But as long as we keep vigilant about it, I hope it won’t get to this point again.”
Sterling is pleased to be continuing family traditions. He played it safe, especially around his elderly mother-in-law.
“This is real. This is a reality. It’s not politically motivated,” Sterling said. “In order to offset the damage this thing did, you have to put in the effort to dissolve the issue. You have to make that sacrifice. By nature, we are social creatures, but you have to make a sacrifice if it’ll help the common good.”
Richard started wearing masks before they were required by mandate, especially when flying on a plane, as well as taking vitamin C supplements to protect himself from colds. He recalled buying masks off Amazon a few months before the pandemic hit.
“When I was wearing my mask, my significant other told me I was crazy, long before it hit. And now she’ll never admit that I was right,” Richard joked.
Izabelle Del Toro and Malena Vargas, two Snohomish High School students, celebrated their first weekend in an open Washington state by getting vaccinated. The two high schoolers look forward to life getting back to normal and attending the Evergreen State Fair, which just announced its reopening in August 26.