Coronavirus: Happy hour goes virtual as people try to be sociable while social distancing during COVID-19 crisis

SAN FRANCISCO -- With bars, restaurants and wineries closed during the coronavirus pandemic, people are finding creative ways to still enjoy activities that are typically done in group settings. One of those activities: getting together with friends for drinks.

"We are really into technology, and we use Zoom at work," says Aldo Raicich of San Francisco, "We thought it would be a good idea to do a virtual happy hour."

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Raicich and his partner, Jeff Johnson, invited about 20 of their friends to the video chat hangout. "At one point we had at least 12, maybe even more, different screens going on at once," Johnson said.

"It was a no-brainer for me and my husband to say yes, we'll join you!" said Marc Smolowitz, one of many who attended the virtual happy hour. Smolowitz said that remaining social, while still practicing social distancing, helps everyone stay healthy and sane.

"We are all definitely very social people, right?" said Smolowitz. "And so the idea of social distancing when you're a very social person means you have to adjust, right?"

But for Raicich and Johnson, staying inside during the shelter-in-place order has allowed them to stay better connected.

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"I will say that these past two weeks we have met via FaceTime and Zoom with more friends that we have not seen for real for a long time," Raicich said.

So reach out to someone, organize your own virtual hangout, and socialize as best you can while staying home.

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