Michelle Faw felt a note of the uncanny even as she and her husband, Stephen, cheered for West Chester’s Memorial Day parade on Monday.
“Watching the groups go by and seeing the streets filled with people, it did kind of make me pause and think about how far we’ve come,” she said.
Monday marked the first maskless holiday in a year for millions of people across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, who — like Faw — took advantage of their newfound ability to gather safely without masking or social distancing.
More COVID-19-related barriers are scheduled to disintegrate in the near future. All Ohio’s health orders end on June 2, and restaurants can open at full capacity. Kentucky will end many of its own restrictions, including the mask mandate, on June 11. Indiana, which largely reopened in April, will hand the question of school-related masking policy back to schools in July.
Awareness of that future, in which pre-pandemic normality is closer than ever, made the Memorial Day celebration feel extra special for other viewers of the West Chester parade.
“You physically understand the freedom, just being able to move around and see people and see faces and come out and enjoy a nice day,” said Stephen Faw.