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

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?

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.

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.



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

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’

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?

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

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.

How might Seattle’s live performance scene come back post-coronavirus shutdowns?

Performing arts organizations were among the first to close their doors in the pandemic shutdown and will likely be among the last to reopen. Even when they are allowed to turn on the lights — by July 13, at the very, very earliest, and still socially distant, the unknown far outweighs the known. Read Brendan Kiley’s full story here.

As uncertainty lingers for local music venues, a piece of Seattle’s identity hangs in the balance

Seattle is a music town. But with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the live music industry, the future is uncertain for our musical heritage. Read Michael Rietmulder’s full story here.