Day Trips: Ten Ways the Pandemic Affected Daytrippers


Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

What a long, strange trip 2020 has been. After a ban on nonessential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic was lifted, the fear of the virus continued.

1) Canceled for the first time since World War II. With an abundance of caution, the state fair, Fiesta San Antonio, and younger events skipped this year.


2) Travel ban killed bluebonnet season. A statewide ban on nonessential travel prevented conscientious citizens from enjoying one of spring's most cherished activities.

3) Social distancing. Statistically, one in three people in a group of 100 will have the coronavirus. Avoiding crowds was the best advice. One bright spot was that drive-in movie theatres became venues for weddings, concerts, and movies.

4) Staycations replaced summer vacations. Even with face coverings, hand sanitizer, and empty center seats, airlines were potential superspreader zones. Discovering things close to home was the safer choice.

5) The no mask/Trump flag Hill Country. One didn't have to travel far out of Austin before the roads were lined with Trump banners and the convenience stores were stocked with maskless patrons dressed in camouflage.


6) Public restroom/public nuisance. In the best of situations, public restrooms are petri dishes for all kinds of contagions. The use of personal urinal devices or the bushes didn't seem to affect the drought.

7) State parks near capacity. State parks dealt admirably with record demand. Entrance passes are sold online to reduce staff exposure, and indoor facilities remain closed.

8) Online travel. Imagine if we had to live through the shelter-in-place orders without the internet. Destinations stepped up their online educational and entertainment presence.

9) To-go menus saved restaurants/wineries, and breweries became restaurants. Al fresco became popular whether one ate on the patio, sipped in the biergarten, or dined in a park.

10) Aggressive driving/road rage. Traffic was much lighter during the stay-at-home orders. The frustration of being stuck at home translated into rude and dangerous behavior on the roads.


1,530th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, coronavirus, COVID-19, State Fair of Texas, Fiesta San Antonio

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