Seybert: Say no to bars, yes to staying in


Amid new coronavirus outbreaks and death tolls rising, everyone is looking for a way to relax. Everything is changing; people are dying left and right, friends and family members are being hospitalized and face masks have become essential. It’s only natural to want to escape and find a sense of normalcy. For many people at UNI, that means going to The Hill.

The Hill is a little stretch of sidewalk right next to campus that contains shops, fast food and (mostly) bars. It’s a place for students to hang out, enjoy themselves and forget everything for awhile. Or, at least, it was.

The world as we know it is changing and that means habits have to change too. During any other school year, The Hill would be a fantastic place to hang out with friends and party it up. During a pandemic, however, going to The Hill’s bars, where wearing masks and social distancing becomes virtually impossible, is blatantly ignoring CDC (and UNI) guidelines and subsequently putting more people at risk.

Seems a little dramatic, right? You’re only going out for a few drinks, what’s the big deal? Let’s break it down. Say that only one person out of all the people crowded into Little Big’s (one of The Hill’s bars), had recently been exposed to coronavirus, albeit unknowingly. We’ll call her X. X meets up with a few of her friends to get ready and pre-game. That’s five people X has already infected and she hasn’t even gone out yet. When the friend group is ready, they find a spot in line at Little Big’s. The line is huge so X keeps being jostled from behind. Another two people are potentially infected. Once they finally get in, X hands the bouncer her ID and cover charge. Another one down. X then proceeds to buy drinks from the bartender, dance with some strangers on the dance floor and even make some friends in the bathroom. In total that night, X came into contact with about 80 people. Every individual that X interacted with could be infected. Those 80 people will then leave–hang out with their friends, go to class, maybe even another bar–resulting in exponential growth of the virus. Even if X isn’t worried about her own health, other people in her life might be. Some of the people exposed, especially if immunocompromised, could die. See the problem?

Coronavirus spreads fast. A lot of people don’t even know that they have it because they are asymptomatic. Due to this, the smallest amount of contact could rapidly spread the virus or end in tragedy. And for what? So your mutuals can skip through a grainy Snapchat story of your friends taking shots?

College is a time to get out and have fun, and it sucks to have to stay away from parties–especially in the beginning of the school year. Under normal circumstances this would be a great time to celebrate, but this pandemic has changed things. Something as simple as going out for a drink could literally kill someone. Bars are naturally crowded, germy places on their own; shove 100 drunk college kids in there every weekend and germs (including ones carrying COVID-19) are bound to spread.

Still want to party? Stay in! There is absolutely nothing wrong with hanging out and having a few drinks in your apartment. Not only does it save money (cover fees, overpriced drinks, etc.), but it also keeps everyone a little bit safer. Your wallet, your friends and your immune system will thank you.

If you’re still not willing to be safe for yourself, be safe for others. There are likely people in your life that are immunocompromised, whether you know it or not. Besides, it’s not just about you anymore; when you moved in, you became part of this campus and therefore part of this community. These are your friends, your classmates, your professors; are you really willing to put their lives and their family’s lives in danger just so you can grind on a stranger and sweat vodka? For far too many people, it is literally a matter of life or death; every time you step foot into a bar, you are actively choosing to ignore safety guidelines and put those people at risk.

Do your part, UNI. Stay away from bars until it’s safe enough to go back. It sucks right now, but if we social distance and use masks properly, we have the power to kick COVID-19 off our campus. Once we do that, we can all party at The Hill to our hearts’ content. Until then, stay home and stay safe.