The coronavirus pandemic jerked our lives to a near-standstill. People stopped traveling; shops, restaurants, libraries and offices shuttered; working from home became a default for millions; hospital workers, from doctors to janitors, were hailed as heroes in humanity’s fight against a virus that knows no borders.

As cities cautiously reopen after months-long stay-home orders, some are beginning to ask big questions. What have we learned? What fissures — political, economic, social — have been exposed? As we rebuild, what choices can we make to improve institutions, systems and everyday life as we used to know it?

Our writers set out to ask these questions, talking to historians, academics, local stakeholders, restaurateurs, artists, musicians, small business owners, industry experts and others. Here’s what they found out.

Stefanie Loh, features editor

 

Could the coronavirus reset society? Questions we should be asking about post-pandemic life

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

The coronavirus pandemic and economy-snarling lockdown have dramatically changed just about every aspect of life. As the country begins to emerge from stay-home orders, this is a chance to reevaluate the way our world works. Here are the big, thought-provoking questions local and national experts are wrestling with as we start the recovery process. Read Brendan Kiley’s full story here.

 

What lessons for healthful living can staying home during the coronavirus pandemic teach us?

Lasagna made by Samin Nosrat at her home in Oakland, Calif., April 17, 2020.  (Aya Brackett/The New York Times)
Lasagna made by Samin Nosrat at her home in Oakland, Calif., April 17, 2020. (Aya Brackett/The New York Times)

Life under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic has been undeniably stressful. But people are slowing down, cooking at home, taking time for family and more — these are lessons that should be carried into post-pandemic life. Here are a few more, sourced from local health experts. Read Carrie Dennett’s full story here.

 

What will become of our restaurant scene post-coronavirus crisis? Seattle chefs weigh in on the future.

Ooink is selling takeout ramen kits at the restaurant in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times)
Ooink is selling takeout ramen kits at the restaurant in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times)

No one’s got a crystal ball, but five Seattle chefs — ranging from Chong Boon Ooi of the tiny Capitol Hill ramen shop Ooink to Ethan Stowell of, well, you know, Ethan Stowell — took time to weigh in on what direction they see things taking, as well as what life’s like for them. Read Bethany Jean Clement’s full story here.

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Seattle’s restaurants are finding creative ways to meet Washington state’s checklist of reopening criteria

XCJ (Xiao Chi Jie) owner Caleb Wang demonstrates a soup dumpling order at the counter kiosk of the fast-casual restaurant Monday, May 18, 2020 in Bellevue. Gloves and sanitizer are nearby. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)
XCJ (Xiao Chi Jie) owner Caleb Wang demonstrates a soup dumpling order at the counter kiosk of the fast-casual restaurant Monday, May 18, 2020 in Bellevue. Gloves and sanitizer are nearby. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

Restaurants don’t know what the future holds. But adhering to Washington state reopening guidelines, they will have to tweak the dining experience to help people get comfortable with the idea of eating out again. Read Jackie Varriano’s full story here.

 

Seattle-area booksellers, moved by community support during coronavirus shutdown, say ‘indie bookstores will thrive again’

Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill is hopeful that one day soon, customers will get to browse its shelves again. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)
Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill is hopeful that one day soon, customers will get to browse its shelves again. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Much is uncertain about what it will feel like to visit a bookstore again. But many local booksellers also emphasized that they have been moved by shows of support for their stores during the pandemic, and that they believe that their customers will return. Read Moira Macdonald’s full story here.

 

What might moviegoing look like when theaters reopen after coronavirus shutdowns?

When will we be able to watch movies in theaters again? It’s difficult to say. (Gabriel Campanario/The Seattle Times)
When will we be able to watch movies in theaters again? It’s difficult to say. (Gabriel Campanario/The Seattle Times)

Currently, no one knows exactly when movie theaters might reopen. What might it look like when we return? Will some people be scared to return, and will others find that they just didn’t miss going out to the movies? Read Moira Macdonald’s full story here.

 

Staycations and treehouses: When COVID-19 travel restrictions ease, here’s what summer will look like in Washington

Dave Massie opens up the trunk of a 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia camper van at Camano Island State Park in 2016. Massie, along with his wife, Chelsea, and former Seattle Times reporter Tricia Romano, rented the van for a weekend from Peace Vans, a local van rental outfitter in Sodo. The company is expecting a busy summer despite the coronavirus. (Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)
Dave Massie opens up the trunk of a 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia camper van at Camano Island State Park in 2016. Massie, along with his wife, Chelsea, and former Seattle Times reporter Tricia Romano, rented the van for a weekend from Peace Vans, a local van rental outfitter in Sodo. The company is expecting a busy summer despite the coronavirus. (Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)

It’s not time to get up and travel yet. But Washingtonians — and people around the country — are itching to get away from home. Here’s what travel will look like this summer in the Pacific Northwest, once restrictions on activities begin to ease. Read Gregory Scruggs’ full story here.