How We Had Fun During the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 forced everyone to find new and safe ways to get out (or stay in) and enjoy themselves. I explored some of these activities in a mini-series last semester on COVID-19 safe activities, this article looks back at these activities.


(Image via Mckenzie Uhrig)

Roommates Tina Grassi and Madi Britton, both third-year engineering students at the University of Akron, have some masked fun in the snow.

By Mckenzie Uhrig, Arts & Entertainment Editor

With so many businesses shut down due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) many people lost their outlets for entertainment. Everyone had to discover new ways to enjoy their favorite activities or discover new activities to enjoy. Movies had to be watched from our homes, home gyms had to be set up, and dinners had to be cooked at home. Everything had to be adapted to ensure the safety of everyone involved and to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

During stay-at-home orders nothing except essential businesses were open, this left little options for entertainment or ways to be active. Nature walks, hiking, and neighborhood walks became extremely popular because they were fun ways to stay active that were safe during the pandemic.  

Hiking was one of the safest activities during the pandemic because social distancing was easy to follow on long trails. Hiking trails and parks had to follow COVID-19 guidelines from both the state and federal government, Summit Metro Park had various signs stating the guidelines that guests were required to follow including social distancing and masks.  

Summit Metro Parks thanks our community for helping us keep the parks safe, clean and open during this public health emergency, and asks that visitors continue to maintain six feet from other hikers, avoid crowded areas and bring a mask for times when safe distance cannot be maintained,” said Stephanie Walton Chief of Marketing & Communications for Summit Metro Parks.  

For other businesses following COVID-19 guidelines while still providing an authentic experience became complicated. Museums were some of the first experiences to have to completely overhaul their usual business operations.  

While museums may have been some of the first operations to close to the public, they were also some of the first businesses to figure out new initiatives to engage the public virtually. The Cleveland Museum of Art was one of the first museums to launch its’ online initiative, “Home Is Where the Art Is,” which educated at-home viewers on various artworks and even conducted art classes virtually.  

 Kelley Notaro Schreiber, the Communications and Media Relations Manager with the CMA, said this regarding the introduction of the initiative, “When we closed on March 14, we immediately began thinking of ways in which we could keep the community engaged while our physical space was unavailable. With this initiative, we leveraged technology to bring works of art to the community, responding to changing needs in new, enriching, and innovative ways. 

 Some businesses had to get creative to provide a safe atmosphere for participants, the JustUs Line Dance Crew gave dance classes outdoors with social distancing and mask rules enforced. Participants in these events had to sign COVID-19 liability waivers to attend for contract tracing purposes. Through their use of strict COVID-19 guidelines and engaging line dance routines, participants were able to stay active and safe during the pandemic. Social distanced classes such as these popped up all over the world due to their ability to allow people to have the human connection they were missing in a safe environment.  

As the pandemic went on activities started to be judged by how at-risk you would be to contact COVID-19. Low-risk activities were those where exposure was unlikely due to the ability to distance from others. Most outdoor activities like the ones mentioned previously were considered low-risk. High-risk activities were avoided since you were more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. 

Before the pandemic, I used to love going to the mall to walk around with friends, grab lunch, and shop, this became a high-risk activity during the pandemic. Online shopping, take-out, and food delivery services became a necessity for everyone to slow the spread of COVID-19. While doing things online does not have the same satisfaction companies helped make the transition easier by offering online deals and exclusive offers to make it more beneficial. 

The few times I did get to go to the mall during the pandemic it was a completely different atmosphere and experience than what it used to be. Signs with COVID-19 guidelines were plastered on every wall, stickers on the floor were used to keep customers six feet apart, masks were enforced, and each store and area had a limited capacity. While this helped keep everyone safe it was one of the first times, I realized just how much the world had changed during the pandemic.  

COVID-19 caused people all over the world to become isolated from their friends and family during lockdowns, even when lockdowns are lifted limited contact and distancing are still enforced. New hobbies and events like line dancing were the only sources of distraction, enjoyment, and connection people could have. Personally, my family started exercising together, my sister and I took up skateboarding, and I started learning to cook.  

 Hobbies during the time of the pandemic became more important than ever. One hobby I noticed many people taking up was photography. Photography was an effortless way to express creativity and it was something interesting that you could learn on your own. Photography provided a safe and creative outlet for those during the pandemic to express themselves and their feelings during a time when everyone was struggling.  

“Photography is a great activity during COVID because you don’t need to be near anyone. Even portraits can be taken from a safe distance. And, if you are just learning, you can photograph just about everything for practice,” said Amy Lyn of Amy Lyn Photography, Certified Professional Photographer. 

COVID-19 changed the way the world functioned, everything had to be adapted to ensure the safety of society. Companies, businesses, brands, everyone had to come together to figure out how to safely continue regular operations. It took a while for distancing measures, capacity restrictions, and mask mandates to be determined and implemented across the world. During this time, we lost a lot of people to this virus, and it was a very scary and dark time for the entire world. The way to get through this is together, by following guidelines imposed by the government and being considerate of your fellow humans