Our definition of normalcy changed one year ago.
COVID-19 uprooted everyone's lives and changed the way we lived. Schools went virtual. Masks were mandatory. Some of us stopped going to work, while others went and dealt with more precautions and sanitization routines. Social distancing meant meeting up with friends outside, or not at all. But this isn't what it was always like. With hope for herd immunity on the horizon, we want to remember what we had.
Using submissions from readers throughout the state, we've created a snapshot of what the months before the pandemic looked like for Minnesotans. We asked readers to submit their last "normal" photo, and more than 300 people shared images with us. We know normal looks different for everyone, both before and during the pandemic, so we left it up to readers to decide what that meant. The only request was for the picture to be from after Feb. 1, 2020.
There were photos of crowded concerts, large family celebrations, packed sporting events and political rallies. There were photos of simpler moments too — a quick snap of a child packing up a backpack, unaware it was one of his last days in a physical classroom for months. A game of pick-up basketball on a warm spring day. A used sample spoon from an ice creamery.
This is what normal looked like before the pandemic.
This is what normal will be again soon.
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.