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COVID-19 Pandemic Alters How We're Spending The Holiday Weekend


Memorial Day conjures strong memories for Dave Shenkman. He owns a kite shop on California's Huntington Beach.

DAVE SHENKMAN: We're on the pier. And the ocean breeze is blowing right off the water. So we're smelling the fresh ocean breezes. If it's blowing just right, we'll get a nice smell of the burgers being cooked up at Ruby's down at the end.

MARTIN: But not this year, not during a pandemic. The pier is closed. So Shenkman is spending the holiday at home doing yard work.


Yeah. And things are also very different today in coastal Provincetown, Massachusetts.

PATRICK PATRICK: We're known for being crowded. So how do we reimagine this model?

GREENE: Patrick Patrick heads the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce. Memorial Day usually draws whale watchers, also art lovers and a really popular nightlife.

PATRICK: That certainly is one of the things that's difficult to replicate with social distancing, the kind of club scene that you would normally see.

MARTIN: In Florida, Miles Howard (ph) reminisces about happier holidays managing a bar in Jacksonville's San Marco Square.

MILES HOWARD: Neighbors running into neighbors, you know, their kids playing on the sidewalk, the wafts of, like, you know, fresh pizza that's come straight out of an oven - things that you really associate with Americana.

MARTIN: Howard says, even through hurricanes, the neighborhood never lost its unity. But it's just not the same this year with social distancing.

HOWARD: You know, restaurants and bars are all about community and hospitality and welcoming people into your doors. And, you know, that's the one thing that I think we can all look forward to, getting that sense of community back.

GREENE: Just a bit south of Jacksonville in St. Augustine Florida, Jeanetta Salyer and her band would normally be booked solid for gigs today. This year, they are playing to half the crowd.


JEANETTA SALYER: It's discouraging in the sense of the work that we do is really in building the energy, interacting with the crowd, you know? A good performer isn't just playing technically good music.


GREENE: She will be back next year, hopefully playing to a larger and less distant audience. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.