Coronavirus has stopped the world in its tracks. You know it, I know it, even our dogs know it. But some states are being hit harder than others and extending lockdowns, while others are barely experiencing it at all and are starting to reopen.
Living in Nebraska, I’m in one of the better places in the country to be during this pandemic. There have been cases here, but our population is lower and more spread out, so the spread has been slower than in other parts of the United States. While Nebraska never officially issued a stay-at-home order, everything basically shut down anyway. So here’s a look into what it’s like to live in a state that’s slowly reopening.
Restaurants Are Reopening
A good number of restaurants have reopened in Nebraska, and it’s been nice to go out again. Of course, it’s a totally different experience than what we’re used to. The capacity of restaurants has been cut to 50% or lower, so different eateries have employed different methods of enforcing social distancing. You might see half of the tables removed in a large dining area or small sheets of paper on every other table announcing that the seats are off-limits.
You might see half of the tables removed in a large dining area or small sheets of paper on every other table announcing that the seats are off-limits.
The waiters and waitresses are all wearing masks, but depending on the restaurant’s policies, they may or may not be wearing gloves. We’ve been at restaurants that have switched over to disposable paper menus as well as those that are still using their originals (which are sanitized between uses), and each table gets wiped down and sanitized before the next guests sit down.
I take Coronavirus seriously, and I take all the necessary precautions so my husband and I don’t catch or spread it. In all honesty, my husband and I felt perfectly safe at all of these restaurants. All of the best measures were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People were being respectful and social distancing, and as someone who wants to support local businesses as well as be safe, I was excited at how smoothly everything went.
Some Stores Are Opening, Some Are Not
Nebraska has one of the larger outlet malls in the middle of the country, Nebraska Crossing. It was the first mall to reopen in the United States, and many of the outlets were the first of the entire chain to open their doors. The mall itself didn’t require masks and offered voluntary temperature checks. The stores could decide for themselves whether to require guests to wear masks, and all had social distancing in place. Some of them didn’t allow people to try on items in the dressing rooms, while others placed clothing that was tried on in the back for a certain amount of time before putting it out on the floor again.
Some of the stores didn’t allow people to try on items in the dressing rooms.
I noticed that many chain stores aren’t reopening, but many small businesses and boutiques in the area are – and from what I’ve seen, they’re taking every precaution necessary to do it safely.
I feel so lucky to be in a state where a) the spread is much slower and contained, and b) the state is reopening slowly but surely. Everywhere we've been has put time and effort into protecting their customers and their employees, and I, for one, am glad to support businesses during this time.
Abby Roth is the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. Abby is an opera singer with three degrees in operatic performance from USC and Manhattan School of Music. You can find her website at www.classicallyabby.com and follow her on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest at @ClassicallyAbby.