Moving Forward Post-Pandemic

The pandemic is changing how we live and shop. That’s not necessarily a bad thing

By Rob Smith


December 8, 2020

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Our annual “Best Of”  list looks a little different this year. Sure, readers weighed in on their favorite restaurants, coffee shops and happy hours, but when was the last time you went out to dinner or to a crowded indoor bar? When’s the next time you will again? On a recent webinar, several health care experts warned that life won’t return to anything resembling “normal” until at least the second half of 2021, and that’s a best-case scenario. 

For everyone, 2020 has meant a loss of experience. I never thought I’d miss wandering the aisles of the frozen-food section of my neighborhood grocery store. I never realized how much I enjoyed someone in a restaurant serving me food, or a bartender at a favorite watering hole greeting me by name as I sat down. 

Young children will again visit mall Santas one day, but that seems like a recipe for disaster right now. Macy’s is adapting by holding a virtual Santaland, but that won’t last forever. Yet many things will stick after lockdown restrictions fade. The pandemic is creating a new normal that fundamentally changes how we live and shop.

Telemedicine services will increasingly become the future of health care. Online shopping will continue to grow rapidly; at Amazon alone, delivery capacity in its fiscal second quarter increased by more than 160% as grocery sales tripled. The practice of buying online and picking up in store — known as BOPIS — was already surging and will continue to evolve. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, 60% of consumers across the United States now order delivery or take-out at least once a week. And a survey by Parade magazine and the Cleveland Clinic found that 62% of Americans have made major lifestyle changes, including launch-ing an exercise program, spending more time outdoors or eating healthier.

This combined issue of Seattle magazine and Seattle Business magazine seeks to strike a balance between new realities and the things we’ve come to know and love. Gone, for now, is the popular Datebook. It’s just too difficult to know what events will happen a month after press time given the uncertainties of the pandemic. We will continue, however, to update our digital, go-to Must List every Thursday.

Traditional restaurant reviews seem more than a little tone-deaf right now. Instead, this issues focuses on how readers can best help struggling restaurants, with ideas ranging from gift certificates, virtual cooking classes and cookbooks with recipes from top Seattle-area chefs. There’s also a list of classic, old-school cocktails you can make at home.

Our gift guide features some of our favorite local independent retailers, who this year depend on your business more than ever. The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend about $1,000 on holiday-related items such 

as gifts, food and decorations, a healthy amount given the circumstances.

This issue of Seattle magazine also shines a spotlight on the 25 Most Influential People in the Seattle area. Seattle Business magazine features a dozen business leaders who have set their companies up for success next year.

Nobody is sad to see 2020 go. What next year will bring — and when — is still very uncertain, and that can create anxiety and stress. The lack of clarity and fear of the unknown is very real.

The pandemic won’t last forever, but many of our new habits will. We’re resilient, and it’s important to remain patient and hopeful. Stay safe, and as always, we very much appreciate your ongoing support.

Rob Smith
Executive Editor
Seattle magazine/Seattle Business magazine

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