In its infancy, Zoom was merely another software program that improved virtual face-to-face communication between and among people. Zoom was just another communication platform among dozens of others, vying for the top spot in communication software technology. One year ago, Zoom became successful in achieving one of the top positions in this niche industry. The reason? The demand and perhaps the quality of the product made Zoom a near necessity for those working and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of its users exceeded all expectations. 

These far-reaching figures proved so strong that Zoom inspired, and helped make possible, the exodus of many of its users. From large metropolitan areas, users moved to small, quaint towns in order to avoid the potential of contracting the COVID-19 virus. The term “Zoom” has recently evolved and become a reference to smaller towns here in the United States – “Zoom towns.” 

With the fear and concern revolving around the COVID-19 virus continuing to grow, it is no shock that many people living in, or near, major cities in the United States are considering relocating to smaller towns. Remote learning and teaching is certainly not the most ideal working environment, but it is, however, an opportunity for people to choose where they would like to conduct their work or studies. So many people have taken advantage of this opportunity. This recent trend is what led to the adoption of the phrase: “Zoom towns.” 

For those who have made the choice of moving, I do not blame them. It has been proven that higher populated areas, such as major cities in the United States, are areas in which it is more likely for people to contract the virus. Furthermore, many more restrictions and limitations are put in place in major cities, such as New York City, in order to control the spread of the virus. 

For example, right now in New York City, outdoor dining is the only dining offered to customers. In Hillside Lake, N.Y. where I live, about an hour and a half north of the city, such is not the case. Restaurants here provide indoor seating for customers. February in New York is not a pleasant time to eat outdoors in a tent. In fact, outdoor dining in the dead of winter is downright unacceptable to numerous city residents. Further, restaurant owners have to deal with a dwindling customer base as well as the ever-changing seating capacity codes handed down to them by lawmakers. 

 During these times, living in areas with smaller populations can be an appealing and inviting option. Given the challenges associated with COVID-19, residing in smaller, quaint communities can be safer and more convenient than living in New York City.   

In an article from USA Today titled “From bust to Zoom, small towns are finding a new chance to thrive,” it is discussed how the trend of “Zoom towns” has in fact allowed enterprises to see an increase in business, despite the current status of our country’s economy. Anchor Coffee is one enterprise in particular that has experienced this boom in business. Located in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Anchor Coffee started out in 2014 as an at-home business for founders Greg Brady and Nathaniel Griffin. Brady and Griffin would roast beans from their homes, sharing their love for coffee with friends and family. In 2015, the demand for their expertise exponentially increased, resulting in the official establishment of Anchor Coffee. Anchor Coffee livened the community through social gatherings and game nights, becoming a social hangout for locals. Just like many other counties in the United States, Wilkes County, home of Anchor Coffee, suffered from industrialization for a number of years. Due to the resilience found by those in North Wilkesboro, a shed of a light and a fresh start has recently been offered to businesses like Anchor Coffee. 

It is great to hear that small towns and businesses are thriving during this time we are living in. The small town I reside in has definitely seen an influx of business. I have found that this is due to many people, like myself, still being fearful to travel too far from home. It is interesting to see and learn about how much more appealing quaint towns are right now, in comparison to how they used to be. Urban areas have always been areas where many people wish to reside, as that is where the work is. My parents fall under this category. Both of my parents have worked in the business sector and know New York City is a great place to work. Keeping that in mind, my parents chose to buy a house and reside in the town we currently live in, not too far north of the city. 

It is apparent that this is no longer the norm. People don’t need to live in, or near, the area their company is located in anymore. This is something I have experienced myself. This past fall semester, I had an internship at a media company located in Darien, Conn. Normally, I would have gone in-person for the internship, but due to COVID-19, it was remote. I took advantage of this because had I needed to be in-person for the internship, that would have been an issue for me as I did not have a car on campus last semester. The luxury of a remote internship also allowed me to continue the internship once I had returned home for Thanksgiving and winter break. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on so many lives throughout the world. With all the tragedies this country has undergone in this last year, it is good to hear and see that some positives have occurred amidst all the bad.

 

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