The Almost-Normal Days of The Second July of COVID

Who knew it is the second Friday?

I thought to myself, looking at the pop-up sellers on James Street North during my Friday walk.

Life is quickly returning to some semblance of pre-COVID patterns. There are only a handful of pop-ups this Friday night, a few selling knick-knacks, with some original art in the mix. The flea market vendors are sure to return in August.

Expect James Street to be packed on Friday, August 13. There is a poetic element to the first Art Crawl on Friday the 13th, as the COVID emergency became apparent to all in Ontario on March 13, 2020

A man is walking between the restaurant patios, selling single roses.

The front porch band is playing on Mulberry Street. The dance floor is torn up for construction, the street is being reconstructed.

Saturday night, 9 pm, Downtown Hamilton. King William is very busy, Augusta as well. Club Absinthe's patio is full, with live entertainment. The entertainer often reminds patrons they must remain seated due to COVID rules, adding Friday will see the nightclub fully reopened in Step Three of Ontario's COVID framework.

The corner of King and James is busy. People are lined up for pizza slices, a city crew is on the scene to remove a 16-foot wood crossbeam a person had carried to the corner earlier in the evening.

Groups of girlfriends are out celebrating milestones, men dressed ready for next Friday's club reopenings, and older couples on date night all share the sidewalk.

There is no hugging. Outdoor life is not pre-COVID life yet.

Hugs will come, what we still call Art Crawl will return. August is only three weeks away.