Monday, May 24, 2021

First Outings

Things sure are opening back up quickly here in NYC! Last Wednesday, on May 19, the New York state government officially allowed many indoor settings - including restaurants and offices - to reopen at full capacity with no mask requirement for fully vaccinated people, in keeping with the new CDC guidance. (Restaurants, offices, stores, etc. may all continue to impose their own mask requirements, of course.) Surprisingly, I still haven't received instructions regarding the date by which I need to return to the office full time, or even part time, though I will have a mandatory in-office meeting for one of my cases today. 

I've been out and about a few times since May 19 to do things I wouldn't have done before I was fully vaccinated. K and I continue to make the personal choice to wear masks in public - both while indoors and outdoors, since we're always in transit to some indoor destination - except while we're actively eating or drinking. The photograph above is from this past weekend at one of our longtime favorite restaurants, BCD Tofu House in Koreatown. Which is another way of saying that, yes, we've now had our first indoor restaurant outing since the COVID shutdowns began last March. 

Now that K and I and all our close friends and family - in other words, everyone we could possibly expect to socialize with in the near term - are all fully vaccinated, it's feeling a little easier than I expected to quickly adjust to how we'll likely be able to resume many pre-COVID era activities soon. (The vast majority of our close friends in NYC do not have young children at home who are too young to get the COVID vaccination, which I think makes it much easier for us to just jump back in to things.) Much of our return to regular activities won't be entirely by our choice, including with my return date to the office and my possible late June international business trip that's still being discussed by my supervisors. At some point soon, K and I may also have job interviews that will take place in person. Certain court proceedings are also already back to happening in person. 

It's interesting to observe how quickly - or slowly - people's behaviors have been changing in NYC in response to the recent and extremely rapid changes in the CDC's mask guidelines (which our state government quickly decided to fully adopt). In general since May 19, I've seen that anywhere from 25% to 50% or so of the people I pass by on the sidewalk are still wearing masks outdoors while en route to wherever they're going, much like K and I have also been doing. 

Trader Joe's is among the many large national retail chains that have announced they'll follow the new CDC guidelines, so if the state government no longer requires vaccinated people to wear masks indoors, Trader Joe's store locations there will no longer require masks either. Thus, going strictly by the letter of the law, New Yorkers shopping at Trader Joe's no longer need to wear masks inside if they're fully vaccinated (but to my knowledge, the stores do not actually have the ability to verify anyone's vaccination status). At my neighborhood Trader Joe's, basically 100% of customers are continuing to wear masks inside. 

How's the COVID situation where you are? I hope that you and your friends and family are all doing alright! 

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