Every five years or so, a global or regional event affects an editorial choice we make. We once shot a beach scene at sunset when the sky was a dramatic orange, and it reminded me too much of recent wildfires, so the photo was nixed. But examples like that are rare—we are a lifestyle brand, not a daily news organization. Sushi has always been sushi; theater has always been theater; the Padres, the Padres. But these days, magazine stories are filed… and then things change.
This spring we were ready to go to press with a “summer survival” story called “Where the Tourists Aren’t.” I was writing about a February trip I’d taken on a cruise ship. We were tallying up our Best Restaurants. It would be impossible for articles like these to ignore current events. But we can’t just consider which businesses or beaches will be open or closed; we also have to be aware of what might sound tone-deaf or insensitive.
I am lucky to work with a team of writers and deep thinkers who felt that when we returned from our brief hiatus, we couldn’t necessarily make all of our usual content, because the world isn’t the same as it was before the pandemic. They weren’t ready to celebrate the “Best of San Diego” in our usual fashion. They wanted to make an issue that reflected things as they really are.
All this is to say, what you’re reading now, we worked on yesterday. And every day looks different.
In our 72-year history, this is the first issue we’ve published that does not have a calendar or events listing of some sort. But we know you’ve probably been staring at the same four walls (or the same four people) for a while, so we’re giving you some things to do. There are trails to hike, local theater you can stream, restaurants you can support by ordering takeout, staycations to book, backyard projects to take on, and recipes you can cook. And don’t forget the crossword!
For a longer read, locals shared their stories of working (or studying) through the pandemic. What happened when the customers dried up or the donors disappeared, when the ICU beds were suddenly full while campus dorms were empty? Meeting places went poof, support systems went virtual, the rules and priorities and protocols shifted for everyone. We wanted to paint a picture of what our neighbors were going through, and if possible, spur you to action. After you read Gigi Farrell’s story, I urge you, if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered, please go and donate your plasma—it can help three or four people fighting the virus right now.
Finally, thank you to all the essential workers, volunteers, donors, and grocery store employees showing up every day and doing their best. You make this city what it is. Stay safe out there.