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  • Gillette Vaira

Our Restart

Now that businesses in Montana have begun to reopen, I have returned to being an enthusiastic participant of the local economy. I’ve ventured out. I’ve worn a mask. I’ve socially distanced. And – it hasn’t been so bad.

Back to the Gym

I rolled out of bed early in the morning on the first day gyms reopened in Montana. I will admit that I was hoping to be exposed to fewer germs by being one of the first ones in the studio. There were three of us scheduled for the 6 a.m. slot. The trainers spaced us out throughout the studio and wiped equipment, as they wore masks and gloves. They also taped the floor to remind us to stay within our space at each station.

9Round is a gym that prides itself on not having class times, so it must have been cringe-worthy when they had to require members to sign up in advance in to adhere to the capacity guidelines. However, it has been a positive change for me. It keeps me organized, motivated, and accountable.

Going to the gym is a liberty that I never thought would be taken away – and a choice that I never thought would be made for me. Now, instead of dreading getting up early to go to the gym, I’m grateful that I can go.

Movie Fans

We went to the re-opening of the Babcock Theater – a Billings landmark – to see the 1993 hit, Jurassic Park. With AMC theaters still closed, the Babcock was literally the only show in town, so attendance was good for them!

The staff greeted us in masks and gloves. They encouraged parties to sit a few chairs away from others – and they sectioned off rows so people couldn’t sit back-to-back. The ticket line wrapped around the block, as people practiced social distancing. Butter for the popcorn was no longer a free-for-all. And they had a special message about the changes at the beginning of the show. The changes were obvious, but minimal. It was refreshing to be back at the movies – and to be able to soak up a feeling of normalcy!

Return to Costco

I went back to the warehouse recently. Instead of being embarassed for wearing a mask, like I had been previously, wearing a mask is now a requirement to enter Costco. I saw one woman try to enter the store without one – and an employee graciously brought her a mask to wear. I also saw one gentleman driving a scooter shopping cart, wheeling around without a mask. Other than that, everyone obeyed their new policy.

They’ve opened up more cash registers, and the check-out process has actually become smoother. Instead of grabbing your Costco card, they scan it with a wand. The restaurant area has no seating and a limited menu. Staff no longer take your receipt from you and mark it as you leave the store. Now, they tape it to the cart and you’re on your way.

The restart in Billings has been interesting to watch. Consumers aren’t taking the luxury of these services for granted – and the companies (and their staff) seem grateful for the continued support. After months of oddities, it’s just nice to be back to a version of normal.

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