ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Maybe it’s the nice weather or maybe people are more comfortable going out as vaccinations ramp up, but this weekend was a busy one throughout the metro as people headed out in droves to shop and dine. The sound of live music filling Old Town is one of Greg Hansen’s favorite parts about living around the plaza — and something he’s missed for the past year, until this weekend.
“Yesterday, for the first time in over a year, I couldn’t believe it, I was in and out of my house and I heard mariachi music so I knew the plaza was coming back,” said Hansen. “There were plenty of people out here.”
There was a noticeable increase of people out and about over the past few days, from Uptown and Coronado to Cottonwood and big-box stores like Lowes, Target, and Walmart. Maybe it’s the warmer temperatures, but an increase in COVID vaccinations and loosening of restrictions also likely help. Hansen says he’s received both doses and feels better heading out. “I was lucky enough to have my second dose so I feel like I’m okay and you can tell people are starting to feel a little more comfortable,” said Hansen. “The weather was nice and people were hearing that, so it felt good.”
Others say they still try to stay home most of the time, only going out in smaller settings. However, they say the vaccine is a big boost of confidence to head out.
“Generally, in a place like Old Town, I just go in stores that are a little bigger and not super full, so I feel comfortable as long as I can see that everyone’s wearing a mask and it seems like people are paying attention to it,” said Eden Resnik, who was visiting Old Town on Monday. “I just got my first shot on Saturday and of course it doesn’t fully kick in until a while after you get your second shot but I think I’ve been feeling more comfortable.”
As for Hansen, he says it’s been a hard year for shops around the plaza. However, he sees the boost in Old Town activity as a welcomed sign. “Unfortunately, some of the businesses that were here, didn’t make it. It breaks my heart, but you know, some did, and it’s still a wonderful place to be,” said Hansen. “That’s what that beautiful music said to me yesterday, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
KRQE News 13 also surveyed locals to find out if they’re going out more. While many said they’re shopping more, around half of the people who responded said they’re still not going out just yet.