In Areas Practicing Social Distancing, Neighbors Still Bond

April 9, 2020

In a socially distanced world, neighbors are feeling more neighborly. Families are spending more time at home as cities close non-essential services to fight the spread of COVID-19. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders are prompting neighbors to step outside and use their front porch as a venue to connect even as they maintain a physical distance.

Some neighborhoods are holding block parties, where residents step outside and eat on their front lawn as neighbors doing the same on their lawns.

Neighbors are also boosting each other’s morale: They’re holding neighborhood teddy bear hunts that can be enjoyed from car windows, urging children to dress up the sidewalks with chalk designs, and even planning Easter Bunny viewing parties as the neighbor prepares to drive past homes in costume this weekend. Some school teachers are doing drive-by visits to their students too. Some neighborhoods are displaying holiday lights and words of encouragement to cheer on health care workers. Homeowners are sharing their neighborhood connections over social media.

Neighbors are emerging from their homes, checking in on one another, and making sure older members of the community have what they need, writes Debbie Wolfe, a freelance writer from the Atlanta area, in an article at realtor.com®.

Wolfe says one friend shared how she and her son painted rocks with uplifting messages that they then scattered around the neighborhood. Another neighbor is leaving snacks out daily for anyone who is in need.

Facebook groups are trying to usher in this neighborly feel too, with groups like Heart Hunters sharing photos of artistic hearts that people nationwide are putting in their windows to spread joy to passersby.

Ilana Minkoff, a real estate professional with Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, became lonely during her evening walks with her dog in her neighborhood after shelter-in-place orders took effect. So on her neighborhood Facebook page, she invited others to step outside their doors and open their windows one evening to sing a song together. Her “Quarantine Sing-Along” group on Facebook has grown to more than 52,000 members across the globe in three weeks. Now, neighborhoods are uniting from their own doorsteps and posting videos on the group of them singing the day’s song together.