A HOPEFUL HORIZON: From packed restaurants to crowded streets, Downers Grove is beginning to show signs of normalcy this summer after a year of desolate roads and silent shops. (Mia Chen)
A HOPEFUL HORIZON: From packed restaurants to crowded streets, Downers Grove is beginning to show signs of normalcy this summer after a year of desolate roads and silent shops.

Mia Chen

DGN community expresses both excitements, concerns about summer 2021

June 13, 2021

“I am extremely excited for this summer,” Downers Grove resident Alex Roberts said. “After a year of anxiety, fear and sadness, I am more than ready for a summer filled with fun and the most amount of normalcy we’ve seen in months.”

COVID-19 has dictated several aspects of people’s lives for the past 14 months. But as Illinois has now re-opened and many traditional summer events like concerts and festivals return, the DGN community looks forward to this summer being the most normal summer it has seen since 2019. However, people feel both excited and worried about this summer, with the pandemic still maintaining its presence in the world.

 

Excitement, Enthusiasm & Ambition

With Illinois now having reduced COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines after entering Phase 5 June 11, rising senior Mia Chen anticipates an increased amount of social interaction this summer.

“I’m looking forward to hanging out with more friends and meeting new people because last summer I basically just hung out with the same three people who I knew were safe. I was too worried about COVID-19,” Chen said.

Like Chen, rising senior Madeline Antonio looks forward to seeing more people this summer. Although, she also plans to occupy her time with activities she grew a liking for while quarantining. 

“I can’t wait to see my friends this summer, walk around the downtown area with them and spend time with them outside of school. I’m also very excited to go to the movies and see Cruella and Raya and the Last Dragon,” Antonio said. “I’m not only grateful for the things that I’ll get to do outside of the house, but I’m also excited to continue doing the hobbies that I picked up during [lockdown].”

On the other hand, Roberts is excited to spend more time in public by eating at restaurants.

“I’m most excited to be able to eat out with a lot less stress about the virus and pandemic,” Roberts said. “Of course, I did do that from time to time this past year but was uncomfortable and anxious about being around others in public without wearing masks.”

 

Problems & Disconcertion

Nevertheless, while many anticipate lots of summer fun, others still maintain a list of concerns about the still-present pandemic.

Despite Illinois now allowing larger social gatherings due to being in Phase 5, rising senior Taran Mellacheruvu still indicated his anxiety about them this summer.

“We’re hosting part of a wedding in my backyard soon. It’s for my mother’s close friend, so only his and the bride’s families will be there,” Mellacheruvu said. “Though they’ll all be vaccinated, I’m still concerned because of the volume of people.”

Conversely, Antonio worries about how the vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in particular areas.

“I know that the [Phase 5] no-mask policy only allows vaccinated people to not wear a mask. However, there is no way to monitor the non-vaccinated people who come into public places without their masks,” Antonio said.

I know that the [Phase 5] no-mask policy only allows vaccinated people to not wear a mask. However, there is no way to monitor the non-vaccinated people who come into public places without their masks.”

— Madeline Antonio

But various COVID-19 apprehensions are not the only thing getting in the way of the ideal summer. Some people, like Downers Grove resident Georgia Williams, face shifts and obstacles in their summer plans due to not getting vaccinated.

“I am unvaccinated. I don’t trust the vaccine and don’t intend to get it until scientists and doctors find out more about it,” Williams said. “As a result, I am going to avoid public areas when I can and won’t be attending many crowded events, but I do still plan to meet with friends and family while wearing a mask.”

 

A Summer Unlike the Last

While there are still pandemic-related concerns and disruptions, one thing remains true: with Illinois now in Phase 5 and half of the nation fully vaccinated, many can now enjoy summer with more freedom than last year. And Antonio has a few recommendations as to how to make the most of it.

“With fewer COVID-19 restrictions, many pools, camps and public places are beginning to open up again,” Antonio said. “I know that I will definitely be finding fun activities such as these to do during my summer vacation.”

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