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Thomas Rabsch / laif / Redux

In the Before Times, we’d gather—to headbang along to a rock song, to celebrate love, or to be moved by a new piece of art. Then it all got put on hold.

So what happens next? We are entering uncharted territory for events. Below, our writers discuss the impacts of this outbreak on weddings, theatrical performances, movie showings, and concerts.

Weddings could look different for years to come.

“Once people can more freely gather, move around the country, and do things like dance together and sing loudly into one another’s faces, there’s no guarantee that they’ll want to do so in large numbers,” Ashley Fetters reports. Some couples may opt to just elope, she predicts.

Studios can’t make big money without movie theaters.

They’re dependent on ticket sales, our culture writer David Sims points out on our Social Distance podcast. “No one’s making an Avengers movie for your television,” he told our hosts. “That wouldn’t make sense.”

The theater industry is particularly hard-hit.

But the “real financial crunch point comes if the shutdown lasts beyond November,” when holiday shows usually start to open, our staff writer Helen Lewis reports. “The loss of that revenue, and that chance to introduce youngsters to play-going, would be hugely destructive across the sector.”

Concerts must come back—they’re irreplaceable.

Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters front man, makes this case in a moving essay. “I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life,” he writes. “But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to.”  

THE VOORHES / GALLERY STOCK

One question, answered: My wedding is scheduled for this fall. Should I postpone it?

Ashley weighs in:

If you’re planning on having a big wedding, then yes. For one thing, there’s no way to know whether there will be restrictions on gathering sizes later this fall—and even if large gatherings are allowed, chances are that many of your guests will still be hesitant to travel, or attend events with lots of other people, for fear of disease transmission. That said, enough weddings have been postponed from 2020 to 2021 that certain venues and vendors have seen all their available dates fill up already. So either postpone right away to try to snag a new date, or start planning what’s become known in the coronavirus era as a “mini-mony”: a celebration with just a tiny number of guests.

What to read if … you just want practical advice:

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved quarantine activity:

Take a cue from these young people: Grab some friends and set up a virtual version of your favorite reality competition show. For this week’s Friendship Files, Julie Beck spoke with a group of college classmates who are staying in touch by voting one another off the “island”—Survivor style.

What to read if … you’d like to read about something—anything—other than the coronavirus:

Try this thrilling account by our staff writer Barton Gellman, who found himself living under surveillance after receiving a trove of documents from Edward Snowden. “I layered on so many defenses that navigating through them became a chronic drain on my time, mental energy, and emotional equilibrium,” he writes.

View all of our stories related to the coronavirus outbreak here. Did you get a pandemic puppy? Are you actively looking for one right now? Tell us about your experience.

BIANCA BAGNARELLI

Dear Therapist

Every week, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. This week she counsels a reader living under lockdown with a boyfriend who cheated on her:

I don’t know what to do. While he says he loves me and wants to work on our relationship, he also formed an emotional attachment to this other woman and says he “cares about her.” How could he possibly care about another woman and still say he is in love with me?

Read the rest, and Lori’s response. Write to her anytime at dear.therapist@theatlantic.com.


This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce, with help from Isabel Fattal and Haley Weiss, and edited by Shan Wang.

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