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15 pre-pandemic photos from a year ago that will make you cringe now

Summary List PlacementIt's hard to believe that just a year ago, people were packing stadiums, eating in restaurants, hugging strangers, and generally going about their business without worrying about a pandemic. That changed weeks after the US' first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Washington in January 2020. Because precautions...

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Summary List Placement

It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, people were packing stadiums, eating in restaurants, hugging strangers, and generally going about their business without worrying about a pandemic.

That changed weeks after the US’ first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Washington in January 2020. Because precautions like wearing masks and social distancing have become so ubiquitous, old photos of pre-pandemic life just hit different these days.

Here are 15 photos from a year ago of pre-pandemic life that you’ll never be able to look at the same way.

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A giant crowd packed into Times Square to watch the ball drop on January 1, 2020.

2020 turned out to be a rough year. In photos of new year’s celebrations, the revelers have no idea what’s about to hit them.

Photos of the 2021 celebrations looked quite different as events across the world went virtual.

On January 5, people were still traveling as normal in the US.

People lined up to board a Southwest Airlines flight at Oakland International Airport without the need for masks, social distancing, or testing.

Read more: I took 9 flights on all the largest US airlines in the past 3 months. Here’s what it’s like to fly in America right now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were still carrying out royal engagements, like their visit to Canada House in London on January 7.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent Christmas in Canada in 2019, and visited Canada House in 2020 to express gratitude for Canada’s hospitality during their stay. Just a few weeks later, their events would be relegated to virtual platforms like Zoom.

Kate Middleton and Prince William were also busy with their royal duties, without a mask in sight.

Middleton visited a preschool on January 29, 2020, in London. She was able to interact with schoolchildren by sitting close to them and giving them high-fives — friendly gestures that just seem like virus-spreaders now.

Will Smith gave out autographs at the packed movie premiere for “Bad Boys for Life” on January 7.

Tightly packed fans jostling for autographs is a thing of the past — at least for now. Movies like “Borat 2,” “Mulan,” and “Wonder Woman: 1984” have been released on streaming, without in-person premiere events.

Read more: 7 new movies that are going straight to streaming or On Demand

Tokyo was gearing up to host the 2020 summer Olympics. Due to the pandemic, they were pushed off to the summer of 2021.

The Olympic Village had already been constructed when the International Olympic Committee announced in March 2020 that the Olympic Games had been postponed.

Cruise ship vacations were still in full swing on January 26.

Early in the pandemic, an outbreak aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship resulted in 700 infections and seven deaths. The CDC now advises against traveling on cruise ships due to the high risk of infection.

The Grammys were held on January 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Seeing people crammed together in an arena and not in little squares on a video chat can seem bizarre after remote events have become the norm.

In early 2020, the Democratic primaries were in full swing, which meant lots of hugs and handshakes.

President-elect Joe Biden, who was then still a candidate in the Democratic primaries, hugged a supporter in Newton, Iowa. Fist bumps or waves have become the new standard greetings, minimizing person-to-person contact.

During last year’s Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs played the San Francisco 49ers at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida on February 2.

The Kansas City Chiefs won the game 20-31. This year’s Super Bowl will have limited in-person attendance to reduce the risk of infection.

Kansas City Chiefs fans celebrated the victory in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 5.

One million people attended the victory party, according to TODAY. If this were to happen today, it could be an unfathomably large superspreader event.

Read more: What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address on February 4.

Congress has continued meeting in person during the pandemic with precautions such as masks and social distancing. Members of Congress were also given the option of receiving the vaccine in December.

On February 9, celebrities crowded into the 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for the 92nd Academy Awards.

This year’s Oscars have been pushed back to April 2021, and Variety reports that the Motion Picture Academy is exploring options for an in-person show.

Remember when eating in restaurants didn’t involve masks, protective panels, or crude outdoor structures?

Pictured on January 28, patrons in this American-style Buffalo Grill restaurant in France could dine without a care.

Today, restaurants look quite different.

Looking back in 2021, the buffet tables of 2020 look like giant germ factories.

The Awards Night Ceremony Reception at the Sundance Film Festival, held on February 1, 2020, featured a buffet for guests to enjoy. Self-serve food tables will likely become a thing of the past post-pandemic.

Read more: From handshakes to buffets, these 25 things could become obsolete after the coronavirus pandemic

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