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A Brief Intermission Photo Story by David Castillo

Denton county courthouse on the city square on May 1, 2020, the day most COVID-related restrictions were lifted.

On March 31st 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order ensuring Texas would follow CDC guidelines, instituting a state-wide shelter-at-home order. The executive order limited activities and travel for non-essential personnel, leaving millions of people restricted to their homes.

As the virus responsible for COVID-19 ravaged the United States many local bars, restaurants, and businesses were faced with the tough decision to close down or shift business strategies. In Denton, the city square was hit particularly hard. Those lucky enough to keep the lights on had to improvise new social distancing and protective clothing accommodations for their customers. As the month went on, some felt the shelter-at-home order was unnecessarily allowing the government to dictate their lives. Many became restless and were ready to be liberated from their homes.

The Texas governor’s executive order expired on April 30 and all businesses have been allowed to reopen, some with limited capacity. Despite a brief intermission in their lives, Denton residents began their parade into the open.

April 18, 2020. Campus Theater provided a left a whimsical message for passers-by in downtown Denton, Texas. Residents took the stay at home order seriously and the city square, normally vibrant, was largely deserted.
April 29, 2020. A Denton resident stops to pick up the nightly essentials at the popular Denton craft beer store, Midway Mart. As COVID-19 ravaged the United States many local bars, restaurants, and businesses were faced with a tough decision to close down or shift business strategies.
April 29, 2020. A Denton resident stops to pick up the nightly essentials at the popular Denton craft beer store, Midway Mart.
April 26, 2020. Beth Marie’s Ice Cream, a Denton institution, typically boasts long lines of customers during these warm spring nights, but they too have had to shift business practices in order to stay open.
April 26, 2020. Is ice cream essential? Some customers would argue that it is. The Texas executive order "relating to statewide continuity essential services and activities during the COVID-19 disaster" allowed continued operations for food services, with limitations on the number of customers inside the building.
April 26, 2020. Outside and alone, but still connected online, Jessica Fowler, studies for final exams in front of the Denton county courthouse.

Most restrictions expired April 30.

May 1, 2020. Denton residents, Kaylen Carson & Reid Dillon, enjoy the first day on the Denton square after the state-wide stay at home order was lifted. “Quarantine is over; it's sunny. We thought we’d come have a beer on the square”, Reid said.
May 3, 2020. Denton residents enjoy the first weekend on the Denton square after the state-wide stay at home order was lifted. Some followed CDC guidelines by wearing face masks in public.
May 3, 2020. Business at Beth Marie's picked up after general restrictions were lifted on May 1, though the restaurant is technically limited to 25% capacity.
May 3, 2020. Denton resident, Crystal Jean, organized the Denton Dinosaur Parade, in hopes to that it would bring smiles to those enjoying the square on the first weekend since the state-wide shelter-at-home order was lifted. SARS-Cov-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease, continues to spread, and Texas has become a test case for the early lifting of restrictions intended to control the spread.

Credits:

Photo Story by David Castillo