As millions of people nationwide receive the COVID-19 vaccine and our world continues to make progress towards returning to “normal,” it is easy to forget the precautions we must continue to take, especially with summer on its way. During the summer of 2020 when COVID-19 was still new, there was a surge in cases. We saw then that many disregarded the warnings of health officials and carried on with summer trips, barbeques, and other large gatherings. Now, with vaccinations, it is safer for vaccinated people to interact with one another, but it is still important to be cautious when around those who are unvaccinated, and if you yourself are unvaccinated. It may be tempting to hang out with friends or go on big trips this summer since it seems as if cases are under control, but if we can stay safe and vigilant we may have a chance at having a somewhat normal summer next year. However, this does not mean that we have to stay inside quarantining, as there are plenty of options for safe and fun activities that we can enjoy.
With so much time off of school for students, travel is common during summertime. Whether it is to visit family in another state or to vacation internationally, it is best to put those plans on pause for now. The CDC recommends avoiding long distance train or bus trips, cruises or other boat trips, flights with layovers, and long car or RV trips requiring multiple stops. Many of these types of trips will include interaction with others, which can be very risky, so here are some alternatives. Instead of going on a huge road trip with many stops, consider taking a day trip to a nearby town. Living in Southern California means that we are surrounded by many beautiful towns with much to offer. You could visit the sea otters in Morro Bay, go to the Carpinteria bluffs, or explore beaches in other towns– the options are endless. You could also go camping if you want to enjoy nature without dealing with the hassle of finding a place to stay. If you are set on traveling somewhere by plane though, the best and safest option would be to take flights with as few stops and layovers as possible.
If you are not looking to travel outside of town, there are plenty of options for safe activities within Santa Barbara. As we know, Santa Barbara has many beautiful beaches to offer with wonderfully warm weather to compliment it. If you want to hang out with your friends, consider doing so outside instead of going to a friend’s house or hanging out at a crowded mall. When you are outside, there is fresh air that is constantly moving and so chances of contracting the virus in the air are lessened. There is also more space in nature, so that you do not have to worry about being too close to other people like you would in a store. You could go to local beaches like Hendry’s beach or East beach, or hang out at a nearby park and have a picnic with friends.
“Last summer I enjoyed taking in the sun with my closest friends, from a distance.” said freshman Viviana Galindo. “I definitely look forward to enjoying that again this summer.”
Slowly but surely, we are making progress with vaccinations, and hopefully we can return to some resemblance of pre-pandemic life soon.
“I think we definitely still need to be cautious during the summer, however we cannot forget about the vaccine,” said freshman Elise Tsoukalas. “I think it goes without saying to still be careful when you see people and if you travel places, but most importantly we should all follow CDC guidelines and see what they have to say.”
With safety guidelines and CDC recommendations in mind, there are many safe options for having fun this summer. Santa Barbara is a beautiful place with amazing weather and many beaches, so take advantage of it. Hopefully, if we stay safe this summer and continue with vaccinations, we can have an even better summer next year.
Noelle is a freshman at San Marcos High School…