The Santa Barbara pandemic checklist | Credit: Dave Coverly

We’ve all seen the dozens of discarded face masks littering our city streets – they’re like shell casings in Chicago – but does that mean the pandemic is over? Here’s a checklist to help us Santa Barbarians figure out if our viral nightmare is actually coming to an end.

[  ] The phrase “going out to eat” is again used to describe visiting one of our fine restaurants, such as Lure or Via Maestra 42, suggesting that the phrase has reverted back to its original meaning – that we are actually going in to eat.

[  ] When you say you are going to go get a shot, it is more likely that you will end up at The Red Piano rather than at a Rite Aid.

[  ] UCSB’s Classical Language professors are no longer being consulted about the name of the next virus variant.

[  ] “Rover,” the bronze statue of a Labrador retriever on the corner of Garden and Mission – who is usually dressed up in the spirit of a holiday or an issue of the month – is no longer wearing scrubs.

[  ] When someone coughs behind you in Vons, you assume it’s caused by a draft from an open freezer door – and not the result of a deadly virus which is certain to infect and kill you while you stare helplessly at boxes of frozen waffles.

[  ] Because everyone no longer feels a dire need to replace human friends with animal companions, Santa Barbara’s Humane Society now has rescue dogs available to be rescued. Therefore, there is no longer any discernible reason for you to continue borrowing your Aunt Edna’s dog and pretend you’re rescuing it just to fit in.

[  ] Lance Orozco goes 36 hours without reporting a virus-related news story on KCLU. However, he does conduct a 13-minute interview with a local man who invented the pointy stick used to pick up trash on the beach – his interview is broadcast three times in 75 minutes – and you listen to it in full each time.

[  ] The Santa Barbara Museum of Art changes the title of its new exhibit from “Over His Mask: Through Vincent’s Eyes” to “Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources.” They also erase the face mask someone had drawn on his Self-Portrait.

[  ] If you see someone wearing a face mask in Bank of America or Montecito Bank, you can once again assume they are robbing it.

[  ] Yard sale signs appear each weekend on telephone poles from the Mesa to the mountains, and we begin to touch and buy other people’s stuff again. In addition, we also go back to not caring whether we actually need the stuff we’re buying.

[  ] You can purchase Santa Barbara Bowl tickets several months in advance without worrying that the concert will be cancelled due to disease. Ironically, the demand for tickets to see The Cure becomes so high that the band is booked to play the Bowl for the entire month of September.

[  ] The term “COVID-19” is not mentioned as frequently as it once was, and begins to fade from our daily language like a brand that we no longer use or refer to. This eerily mirrors what happened to the similarly named Kellogg cereal “Product 19,” which, when we all woke up one morning in November 2016 – was gone.


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