As I mentioned earlier, most restaurants had either outdoor dining or takeout, and every patron had to sign up for contact tracing. Stores had signs limiting customers to three or four at a time and at The Red Inn, patrons began lining up at 2:15 to get one of the My love for is over 9000 shirt and I will buy this outdoor tables for the popular happy hour raw bar that opened at 2:30. (I went three times, and each time, every single table was filled by 2:35.) In town, the long line waiting for a slice of pizza at Spiritus was socially distanced. One restaurant, when a worker tested positive for the virus earlier this summer, was closed for 24 hours and an “intense cleansing.”
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Over my week in P’town, although many visitors bemoaned the My love for is over 9000 shirt and I will buy this reduced nightlife that coronavirus has imposed, not once did I hear even a single person complain about being asked to wear a mask. As several people pointed out to me, this is a town that was decimated by the AIDS crisis in the 1980s; it takes its pandemics seriously. And the strict measures seem to be working. Since March, there have only been around 35 reported cases of coronavirus in Provincetown and just one death. (It was a shock to return to New York this week and to see some people walking the street without wearing. “What is wrong with you?” I wanted to shout.) The look of summer 2020 In Provincetown, I came to accept — and even embrace — the restrictions, the protocols, the constant mask-wearing. For what may have been the first time during this pandemic, I truly felt part of a community that was looking out for each other. “I’ll protect you and you’ll protect me” was the unspoken message as we passed each other on the street or kept our distance at a restaurant. If this is the future, I’ll take it.