Pandemic picnics: Warm weather provided chance to socialize and eat outdoors


Elliot Taylor

Sophomore Maya Herron used picnicking as a way to safely gather with friends and catch up.

Margot Konetzka, Reporter

It’s a sunny, albeit chilly day in October, and the grassy field in Harold Washington Park is littered with picnic blankets as people socialize and enjoy the last spell of sunshine. Different songs of varying degrees of loudness compete to be heard and some people toss a Frisbee disc back and forth. Some people have brought grills, while others stick to just the classic picnic blanket and basket.

Throughout the summer and fall, picnics became a way for people to hang out with friends and socialize during the pandemic because being outside decreases the risk of infection and spread of the coronavirus. 

People can talk, eat and enjoy each other’s company from at least 6 feet away per the CDC’s guidelines, all while outside, making picnics a popular socializing option. 

Sophomore Maya Herron said, “I probably wouldn’t have thought about going on a picnic before quarantine, but I think it became more popular because you have to hang out outside, and I thought it was enjoyable.” 

Maya, who went on a picnic this past summer, added, “Since we put effort into it, with our favorite food and favorite music, it was really fun.”

Picnics have also been getting more media attention than in previous years, and The New York Times published articles about how to safely have a picnic and picnics in general. There are countless other articles like them out there, articles that all stress following guidelines pertaining to the coronavirus, as well as how to pack and prepare food in a way that is safe for all parties involved. 

In order to go on a socially distanced but still fun picnic, refer to CDC guidelines and make sure everyone that is participating is aware of the guidelines as well. The guidelines state to wash your hands often, avoid close contact, cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect, and monitor your health daily. 

Two women, on blankets six feet away from each other, talk and chat while eating sandwiches. The air is crisp and there is a chilly undertone despite the bright sun in the sky. Each has a mask sitting only inches away, ready to be put on as soon as the eating stops. Although picnic blankets have long been returned to the top of closets, picnics were a safe and fun way to see friends and reclaim a sense of normalcy.