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Happy Hour Goes Online, or Keeps Its Distance

Americans find safe ways to toast each other and decompress
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2020 5:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – The hottest new bar's dress code? Sweatpants. And you don't have to leave your couch. With bars shuttered and stressed-out workers stuck at home, companies and friend groups across the US are holding happy hours over video chat to commiserate and keep spirits high during the pandemic. In one community, neighbors are toasting one another every night from the ends of their driveways to unwind—while keeping a safe distance, the AP reports. "Let's be honest, we could all use a break and a drink right now," said Nick Minerd, who took part in a virtual cocktail hour with more than 30 home-bound coworkers in Tennessee. Video chat happy hours have popped up all over social media as bars have closed and restaurants have shifted to delivery and takeout only in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Emily Anderson, who runs an organization that connects moms in New York City, plans to host weekly video chat happy hours to help moms “celebrate surviving another week of the Coronapocalypse" with a “quarantini." Tracy Stallard of New York said a group of her friends from high school caught up over drinks via video chat and talked about their new normal. "Have you been going out and taking a walk? Do you wear real pants when you get up in the morning? How many days did it take before you stopped wearing makeup?" they asked each other. In Montclair, New Jersey, a group of neighbors is taking a different approach, holding a nightly happy hour in front of their homes. While everyone stays in their own yard, they've sung happy birthday to those whose celebrations were spoiled by the virus and toasted "to better times, but never better neighbors," Gail Stocks said.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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