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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Davis residents note increased outdoor socialization in downtown

Yolo County official urges vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to continue following health guidelines

Davis business owners and residents have noted that more people have been walking around downtown since the weather warmed up and COVID-19 vaccinations became widely available. 

Yelena Ivashchenko, the owner of Bohème Used Clothing & Gifts and a board member of the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA), described her observations regarding residents around town. 

“We see more people coming in and shopping, socializing and meeting with friends,” Ivashchenko said. “Just in general, people are feeling more positive and safe to come out.”

Jonathan Barragan, a UC Davis fourth-year human development major, noted that the amount of people he saw walking and driving during his most recent visit to Downtown Davis was higher than usual. 

“It was surprising to see the amount of people walking around and the amount of parked cars on the streets,” Barragan said. “There was an almost uncomfortably large amount of people.” 

Yolo County Public Information Officer Jenny Tan urged vaccinated individuals to continue to follow health guidelines in order to protect themselves and other community members. 

“Even though people have their sense of security because of the vaccine, because the warmer weather is nice and people want to get outside, we still need to be vigilant in terms of protecting each other,” Tan said.

Barragan described his experience socializing in Downtown Davis and highlighted the importance of personal comfort levels regarding eating at restaurants. 

“Considering that I am fully vaccinated, I personally felt relatively safe walking around with my mask on and enjoying my food without my mask in Downtown Davis,” Barragan said.

Tan noted that the amount of outdoor socialization will most likely increase during the summer, which would be beneficial for local businesses. 

“I think [increased socialization] will definitely boost the economy,” Tan said. “However, we still need to follow the public safety measures to protect each other.”

Since UC Davis first announced that in-person instruction would resume in fall 2021, Ivashchenko explained how DDBA members now want to install more live music events and focus on increasing student engagement. 

“In the past, there’s [been a disconnect between] locals in Davis and UC Davis students,” Ivashchenko said. “We want this to be just one town.” 

Ivashchenko also shared that many downtown businesses are feeling hopeful for the return of the student population in the fall. 

“A lot of businesses suffered during the pandemic, so we need this money to be put back into downtown,” Ivashchenko said.

Ivashchenko urged residents to be patient with downtown businesses as they transition from small to larger sales. Many businesses are struggling with having enough employees, restaurants cannot always provide food on time and businesses may have occasional lines. 

“Please be patient, as businesses are really trying to stay afloat,” Ivashchenko said. 

Barragan offered his personal advice to individuals considering a visit to Downtown Davis. 

“Only if they are fully vaccinated and preferably if they are able to eat outside of the restaurant itself,” Barragan said. “It might be a little uncomfortable for those who are really conservative about the virus to be indoors still because there are a lot of people inside.” 

Tan emphasized the importance of residents continuing to follow guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals since COVID-19 is still a threat within the Yolo County community. 

“We do still need to be careful because there are still people that are getting COVID,” Tan said. “The variants are definitely on the rise in Yolo County, and we’re still seeing people dying from COVID if you look at our dashboard.” 

Written By: Jelena Lapuz  — city@theaggie.org

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