Weddings, funerals, and haircuts: 9 everyday public activities that you may not realize are getting disrupted by the coronavirus

Weddings, funerals, and haircuts: 9 everyday public activities that you may not realize are getting disrupted by the coronavirus

The parking lot at Hilltop Mall sits empty on March 17, 2020 in Richmond, California. Seven San Francisco Bay Area counties have ordered residents to shelter in place in an effort to reduce social interaction and slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • The CDC has told people to limit gatherings of more than 50 people and practice social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Italy and other countries are on lockdown, as governments begin taking more drastic measures.
  • Common social gathering places like bars, restaurants, concert venues, and sports arenas are being forced to close down or reduce operations.
  • However, less obvious group activities like weddings, funerals, and recreational sports will also be affected as virtually all aspects of life get redefined.
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The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally reshaping life across the entire globe as governments instruct people to hunker down to help slow the spread of the disease.

In Italy, which has become the worst-hit country outside of China, 60 million people are now under total lockdown. El Salvador, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, and France have all followed suit.


The US appears to be headed in that direction as well. San Francisco is requiring residents to "shelter in place" and only leave their homes for essential trips like getting food or seeking medical attention, while businesses across California, New York, Florida, Illinois, and various other states are being forced to close temporarily.

Many major events planned for the next few months have already been called off, while other common gathering places like bars, restaurants, concert venues, sports arenas, and churches are being forced to shut their doors, at least temporarily.

But as more cities restrict people's ability to move around freely in public, there are countless other aspects of life that will be massively disrupted. Here are a few activities that people might not have yet realized will be off limits - or at least look a lot different.



Planners, day-of coordinators, bands, photographers, food vendors, and wait staff — not to mention hopeful brides and grooms — will likely be hit hard as more people are forced to call off their weddings, which cost an average of $33,000 in the US, according to The Knot.


The CDC has instructed morticians to limit funeral attendance to under 50 people and to livestream services online to larger audiences. In Italy, where hospitals and morgues are overflowing and more than 300 people died on Monday alone, according to The New York Times, funerals have been banned entirely.

Religious services

Holy sites like Mecca have been emptied out, synagogues called off Purim services and have held virtual bar mitzvahs, and churches have stopped holding masses or implemented social distancing ahead of Easter. Pope Francis canceled his public appearances and is now streaming his weekly prayers online.


It's not just theaters that are shutting down, the movie industry itself is taking a hit, with releases being delayed for major titles like Disney's live-action "Mulan" remake and the new James Bond film, "No Time To Die."

Hanging out with friends

As social distancing becomes the new normal for most people across the world, there's a worry it could cause a "loneliness epidemic." This could be particularly worrisome for the elderly and other vulnerable populations, whom the CDC has advised to "stay home as much as possible." It could also fuel a new wave of virtual mental health companies and remote wellness programs aimed at keeping people connected and healthy while they're cooped up.

Recreational sports

The professional sports world came to a grinding halt this week with the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA canceling their seasons. But for millions of kids and adults who enjoy playing sports for fun, they're also facing the likelihood that a favorite pastime won't be an option for the foreseeable future.

Standardized tests

College admission tests like the SAT and ACT, where test takers and moderators must congregate in-person, have already been canceled through May, and it's raising questions for anxious high-school graduates about how the delays will impact their applications.


While people may be playing a lot more video games as they're stuck at home, the esports industry could have a tough road ahead. Esports leagues and tournaments, as well as industry conferences, require public gatherings as much as any other sport, and will need to find ways to move online.

Haircuts and nail care

When San Francisco went on lockdown this week, it explicitly told residents: "You cannot go to a nail salon or get your hair cut by a stylist or barber." As more businesses shut down, barbershops as well as hair and nail salons could have to drastically change how they operate.