COVID 2021

COVID PM: We drove around the county checking in with local businesses — here’s what we found

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the day things took a big step back toward normal.

We here at Lookout christened the June 15th moment by fanning out across the county to see what we could see. And hear. Turns out slightly muffled speech hidden behind facemasks remained a big part of it.

As Gayle Ortiz of Capitola’s favorite bakery told me: “People still have fear.”

And it’s totally natural. After nearly a year and a half of caging ourselves up and
trying to do the right thing on behalf of others, it’s simply not natural to walk into any establishment and not be thinking about a face covering.

There will soon come a time when we can freely read people’s facial expressions and hear them clearly without having to lean in awkwardly. But we’re not quite there just yet. And that’s OK. What’s the hurry?

I hope you enjoy our exploration, which took us to more than 20 local businesses. And we’d love to hear more stories about your own explorations, so hit reply if you are so inspired...

The Great Santa Cruz Reopening

Mission West co-owner Max Turigliatto
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Business owners welcome new reality — even if that’s still being figured out: What to make of June 15th? That was our goal on Tuesday as we dispatched our entire editorial staff in different directions around the county. What we came back with was a hodgepodge of differing, developing, still-in-the-works ideologies about what to do going forward as a post-pandemic society. Check out our adventure here.

California reopens to joy, celebrations

Images from the reopening of California. (Los Angeles Times)

‘It’s one of the best days of my life’: As of Tuesday morning, coronavirus-related capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements were lifted at almost all businesses and other institutions. State residents who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can now go without face masks in most nonwork situations. A closer statewide look by the LA Times.

RELATED: Many Californians keep masks on as economy reopens, saying better safe than sorry (LA Times)

Will travel and tourism return with California reopening?

Pedestrians

Rebound in order? As California drops capacity and social distancing rules, experts are tempering expectations on a full rebound of the state’s tourism industry. Domestic travel won’t recover fully until 2023 and international visitors remain half of pre-pandemic levels. Still, state and local tourism officials express optimism. More from CalMatters here.

California reopening: Why officials say it’s safer this time around

Los Angeles

Different this time: Tuesday is not the first time California has tried to reopen its economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. But officials are hopeful it will be the last. More from the Times here.

Hula’s Island Grill has been a fixture in the community since 2006, but when the pandemic hit, they experienced...

An end to the pandemic hangover?

People enjoy a ride at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Businesses brace for what’s next, try to put ‘smiles back on faces’: Local businesses and hotels were seeing an uptick in travel, business ahead of the state’s reopening on Tuesday, but some lingering pandemic aftereffects remain that will still need sorting out. More from Neil Strebig on that here.

Simple graduation mirrored a new, simpler existence

Grad
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

One UCSC grad’s newfound perspective: Haneen Zaid was beyond busy before the pandemic forced her to slow it down a bit and actually introduce herself to her housemates. Now she has friendships that will last a lifetime. More from Haneen on that journey to balance here.

For families of COVID victims, an agonizing wait for burials and paperwork

Pandemic era’s hidden trauma: Her brother succumbed to COVID-19 in February. It took months to bury him. And longer still to secure a death certificate. More from the LA Times’ David Lazarus here.

More from here & elsewhere

San Francisco to require staff in hospitals, jails and nursing homes to get COVID-19 vaccine (LA Times)
New York reaches vaccine milestone and joins California in reopening (CNN)
This Twitter Account Is Honoring COVID Victims, With 5,000 Obituaries And Counting (NPR)
Hospital workers lost their lawsuit on a vaccine requirement. Will businesses enforce them? (NBC News)
Biden July 4 celebration to mark COVID fight (ABC News)
CDC calls Delta variant a ‘variant of concern’ (CNN)
COVID-19 widow reflects on keeping her husband’s memory alive (ABC News)
Royal Caribbean cruise postponed after crew members test positive for COVID-19 (USA Today)
Jobless Indiana residents sue governor for ending pandemic unemployment benefits early (CNN)

See you tomorrow, everyone.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor