When the pandemic started last year, the conversations we used to have with our friends and coworkers centered around when things would return to normal, giving it a month or two before we were back in our offices and restaurants. A year later, we know better.

Despite the relatively slow progression of the pandemic, a lot has happened in a year. Now that an increasing number of people are getting vaccinated, what does that mean for the summer?

Summer 2021 will be different than the previous summer, even if the virus is still around. Experts predict more movement and traveling along with more activities at your disposal. Here are 5 predictions of how this summer will look like:

Less restrictions

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With vaccines in circulation and large percentages of the population having immunizations, you can expect much more opportunities for activities than the ones we had the past summer. You can expect more outdoor gatherings with increased sizes, even if these might not reach stadium-sizes.

More traveling

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Thanks to vaccines, traveling has increased incrementally with each passing week. This will likely continue through summer, with warm weather usually resulting in more and longer trips — even if people, especially those who are not vaccinated, should remain careful.

Some communities might reach herd immunity

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Herd immunity has been heavily discussed, even since the start of the pandemic, where many people hoped to reach immunity naturally. Now we know this will only happen once around 70% of the population is immunized. While this means that herd immunity across the entire country might take some time, small communities should begin experiencing this change by the summer. Areas that have been hard hit by the virus might experience this sooner, likely due to the amount of people who’ve contracted the disease and the amount of immunizations that are administered.

More outdoor options

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City festivals, pools, drive-in theaters and concerts will experience a resurgence this year. While the number of attendees might not be the same as it was years past, it’s likely these events will be held with some degree of success now that people know how to handle the virus and the weather allows for outdoor gatherings in open spaces.

There might be more variants

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While summer predictions are mostly positive, it’s likely there will be more variants and risk of transmission in the coming months. New COVID variants are more transmissible and might be more resistant to the vaccine, which is why experts continue to monitor them very closely. Still, no matter how contagious these variants are, if people continue to wear face masks, wash their hands, and keep up with social distancing guidelines, their spread will be curbed.

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