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What’s the first thing you’ll do once COVID is over?

Hugs. Travel. In-person dining. Here’s what Rhode Islanders say they’re looking forward to in 2021

Evonna Malave picking up her son Prince Zuleta, 5,  and giving him a hug after his first day of kindergarden at Spaziano Elementary School in September 2020.
Evonna Malave picking up her son Prince Zuleta, 5, and giving him a hug after his first day of kindergarden at Spaziano Elementary School in September 2020.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and my New Year’s resolution is to only wear sweatpants four times a week in 2021. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 87,949 confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, after adding 995 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 7.6 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 31.3 percent. The state announced 17 more deaths, bringing the total to 1,777. There were 426 people in the hospital, and 17,020 residents had received the first dose of the vaccine.


Programming note: There will be no Rhode Map tomorrow, but we’ll be right back in your inbox on Monday morning.

If 2020 was just one long nightmare, the good news is that we have a lot to look forward to in the new year. A vaccine is here, spring is just around the corner, and within no time, we’ll all be drinking Del’s at the beach. We might even get to hug our friends again.

Earlier this week, I asked readers to send in the first thing they are looking forward to doing when life gets back to normal, and as usual, you guys over delivered. You can read every single note by clicking here, and here a few of my favorites from every corner of the state (and beyond).

Thank you so much for spending a little bit of time with us every morning. If you enjoy Rhode Map, please know that your subscription to the Globe makes it possible. We’ve got a great entry deal right now: $1 for six months.


Once the pandemic is over, here’s what you said you’re looking forward to doing:

⚓ My husband and I are looking forward to seeing our pregnant daughter and the two grandchildren in Hong Kong, if it’s possible. Also, I would love to go around and HUG all my neighbors! – Kathy Bence

⚓ When things return to normal, I will do indoor dining at all the restaurants I love in Warren. I will once again go to By Water, Rhody Roots, and Metacom Kitchen. Unfortunately, I will not go to Eli’s Kitchen, as they are closing for good. – Stephen M. Dylag, Warren

⚓ Welcome back hugs by the staff at Angelo’s Civita Farnese -- as I devour a hot bowl of tripe. – Dante Bellini, North Providence

⚓ Have a family reunion so we can have a multi-generational hug-in. – Beverly Reuter, Narragansett

⚓ My friends in Japan and many Asian students at RISD wear masks to avoid colds and flu every fall and winter. I am now planning to do that and stop shaking hands and remember to wash my hands as often as I did as a child. Thirty days after my vaccine shot, I am going to have a two-hour, four-course dinner at Hemingway’s! – Ray Rickman, Providence

⚓ Spend time with my 96-year-old mom, who turns 97 on Jan. 9. – Lisa Stanzione, Bristol

⚓ The first thing I want to be able to do when this pandemic is over is to hug and kiss my adult children and grandchildren. – Rosia Beaulieu, Jamestown


⚓ Hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. And after I have hugged everyone, I’ll pack my bags and travel to and explore as many new places as I can. – Lou Chrostowski, South Kingstown

⚓ The first thing we will do when life returns to normal is rebook our 20th anniversary trip to Hawaii. We were originally supposed to go in May of this year. – Richard Corso & Don Laliberte, Providence

⚓ Reconvening our Friday night dinner club with friends and neighbors and seeing my students’ full faces without a mask. – Lisa Olaynack

⚓ My wife, Sarah, and I live in Providence and we are excited to have a blowout first birthday party for our twins who were born at the end of June. Everyone gets a hug (hopefully) and a signature baby-themed cocktail. – Joey Fink, Providence

⚓ I’m looking forward to hugging my daughter and never letting go! – Penny Randall, Middletown

⚓ Taking a trip to Portland, Maine, with my wife to celebrate my 40th Birthday, which was Nov. 29. Better late than never! – Michael Fortin, Fall River

⚓ Sit in on a card game with my 90-year-old mom, who resides in an assisted living facility, which I have not been allowed to do since early March. – Marianne Litwin, Providence

⚓ Tickets in hand to see Lady Gaga at Fenway in August. Seems like a dream! – Dana Borrelli-Murray


⚓ I hope to be able to travel without fear of getting or spreading the virus to my family and friends. – Kathleen Perreault, Saunderstown

⚓ Hands-down, the first thing I will be doing is traveling to Bristol to visit with my soon-to-be 97-year-old mom. Although we Skype daily for at least an hour, I can’t wait to hug my mom. This will be the first time in 20 years that I will not be there for her birthday on Jan. 27, so we are planning to celebrate her 97.5 on July 27. – Nancy Agatiello, Burlingame, California

⚓ We look forward to the thing we have never yet gotten to do: hold our infant granddaughter and kiss the top of her sweet head, with her 3-year-old brother right next to us! – Laurie Tyce, Coventry

⚓ I’m going dancing. – James Bennett, Narragansett

⚓ I plan to drive from my home in Florida to Massachusetts to see my grandchildren. – Mary-Ellen Benoit

⚓ Hugging all my family members, and then hugging my friends. – Pamela Turner Mattaini

⚓ As soon as we get vaccinated, my wife and I plan on flying to San Francisco to meet our five month-old grandson. Videos, photos, and live chats have been a blessing during this pandemic, but they are no substitute for being able to hug and kiss him. – Adam Kurzer, Narragansett

⚓ Eating in person at Big King. – Zach Barnes, Providence


⚓ Going back to the gym! – James McGraw, Bristol

⚓ Getting a coffee in a normal coffee shop environment. Probably at Seven Stars or Coffee Exchange. I want to sit with a friend across from me (no masks!) and enjoy their company amongst the hustle and bustle and amazing coffee smell. It seems like a small thing, but I’ve really missed it. – Beth Donahue

⚓ I hope to spend the new year with a healthy new liver as I’m having surgery to receive a lifesaving transplant. – James Stern

⚓ When things return to normal, the first thing I’m going to do is hug my granddaughters. I miss them so much. – Rindy, Riverside

⚓ I am looking forward to spending time with my “extended family” and hugging and kissing my son again. Before COVID, I was able to spend time at what I considered to be my second home: a house shared by 4 adults who have significant disabilities. My son lives there and all of his roommates and staff have become an extension of our biological family. On any given visit, when my own son was tired of me, I would go to the other parts of the house to play a game, watch TV, have a spa night or eat a treat with everyone else. All of that evaporated when COVID became a part of our lives. – Sharon Schubert, Ashaway

⚓ Visiting my friends again in Providence, Hope Valley, and Little Compton. – Roger Jones, Sacramento, California

⚓ Hugging my kids. – Michele Heard, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

⚓ I am a midwife working in Providence. I can’t wait to hug my elderly grandparents, who are 90 and 94 years old. They live in Bristol. – Stephanie Avila

⚓ Looking forward to less shopping and here’s why: I’ve been lucky to keep my job, but working from home is challenging, especially not being able to do things to relieve stress caused by sitting all day surrounded by four walls in a closet-turned-office space. Most entertainment-type activities are either closed or limited, like movie theaters. Or they require quarantine from crossing state borders, skiing or snowboarding. So I’ve turned to shopping to relieve stress, which has mostly been open or online. – Ana Markasyan, West Warwick

⚓ Not listening to anything about Donald Trump, and not feeling stressed about getting sick or exposing someone else. – Carlos Hatch, Pawtucket

⚓ Our family wants to travel. We have a running list of places to go and people to visit. We can’t wait! – Meredith Carlone, Barrington

⚓ Fine (or maybe just indoor) dining and travel by plane. – Joseph Studlick, Portsmouth

⚓ Spending time with my family and friends and listening to live music. So, I am having a backyard BBQ with a live band! – Sue, Warwick

⚓ Going to see our kids in Virginia and having our family together! – Sally Owen, Westerly

⚓ Making and serving dinner for friends and family. And hugging. – Lou Viola

⚓ Hugging my friend who has cancer. – Lelia Couzyn

⚓ Visiting my daughter in California, playing bridge, traveling, less Zoom, and great big hugs! But I am grateful to be healthy and safe and wish the same for everyone. – Elaine Edelberg, Middletown

⚓ Listening to music, outside. – Barbara Turbitt

⚓ My wife and I have not seen my son, who is in the Navy, since Christmas 2019. His deployment to the Middle East and COVID-19 kept us apart, now for over a year. We only saw our new granddaughter, born in July, for three days due to COVID-19. We look forward to finally seeing our son this year, the sooner the better, and spending some quality time with our granddaughters. – John Ward, Woonsocket

⚓ I can’t wait to visit with my friends! I’m 71 and we’ve all avoided contact all of this time. Living alone is great when you can travel, but it sucks right now. – Jani, Newport

⚓ When things return to “normal” in 2021, the first thing I intend to do is hug my parents. – Cynthia Rosengard, Barrington

⚓ Getting on a plane to go... anywhere. – Art Norwalk, Providence

⚓ Looking forward to giving my mom and dad a hug once we’re past the pandemic. They are 86 and 85, respectively, and at high risk to contract COVID-19. – Vicki Rinne, Carolina

⚓ I look forward to seeing family without any anxiety or worry. The next is getting rid of masks and seeing smiles again. I also can’t wait to get back to the Dunk to watch the Friars play basketball. Sadly, I’ll miss going to Bravo Bistro before and/or after games, as it didn’t survive. Can’t wait to see Providence vibrant again! – Margaret Hark, Westerly

⚓ The first thing I’ll do in 2021 once the virus is under control is make reservations for a trip abroad to see friends and relatives in Italy and the UK. Can’t wait! – Angela Fischer

⚓ See my friends and give them a big smile and a hug. – Mary Motte, Cranston

⚓ I was lamenting that Sunday would have been the perfect day to grab a book, go to a bar solo, and sit and read with a pint for the afternoon. – Renee Bessette

⚓ Hugging my partner of 30 years, who is in a nursing home. Last hug was Dec. 27, 2019. – Barbara Luebke, Wakefield

⚓ Holding my granddaughter. – John F.X. Horan, East Greenwich

⚓ I’m looking forward to hugging my mom and my friends again when we see each other. And going to see live bands and all the concerts that got postponed from this year, including Aerosmith at Fenway. – Lynn Costa

⚓ We hope to be heading to Italy to celebrate my 60th birthday and 20th wedding anniversary with my family. We were scheduled to spend May on the Amalfi Coast and Positano, but had to cancel due to COVID. – Lisa Holley

⚓ The return of live theatre! Seeing a roomful of strangers have the shared experience of one-room theatre again, sharing the same space and air as the performers and cultivating our shared need for a sense of community and belonging through storytelling. – Josh Short

⚓ I’m looking forward to spending time with friends. We used to go for lunch or dinner, go to events, picnics, etc. So I’m hoping we can resume that! – Deborah McGann

⚓ The first thing my wife and I will do is invite our children and grandchildren to our home for a great family dinner and enjoy the conversations in person instead of on Facebook Live! – Gene & Melody C., Woonsocket

⚓ We’re looking forward to sitting in the August sun with 10,000 other music fans in Newport at Fort Adams listening to cool jazz. – Kevin & Suzanne McBride, Wakefield

⚓ The very first thing I plan on doing when it’s safe to do so is returning to the Wickenden Pub. I’m only 17 beers away from getting my name on the wall. – Jake Levin, Providence

⚓ The thing I am most looking forward to doing in 2021 is enjoying Patriots football with fellow fans. I miss our Pats watch parties with friends. I miss going to CBS Scene and watching away games with diehard fans. I miss eating a sausage and onion grinder under the lighthouse at Gillette. – Cheryl Kuhl Gray, Cumberland

⚓ The moment life returns to normal, I’ll barrel out into my city street in red high heels without a mask and sing at top volume -- “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” for distant family and for friends, neighbors and essential workers who have given freely of hope throughout these dark days. They will NOT thank me! I’m NOT much of a singer. But I will be over the moon with joy! –Betsy Shea-Taylor, Providence

⚓ Get a flight from Paris (home) to Boston and Newport. – Claude Droussent, Paris, France

⚓ The first thing I’m looking forward to doing when the pandemic is finally over is being able to spend time with my children and grandchildren in person. I haven’t hugged my grandchildren since September. I have another grandchild due in May that I may not be able to hold. It’s been hard. – Representative Susan Donovan, Bristol

⚓ One of the first things I look forward to being able to return to doing is hug and kiss my friends and family I don’t live with. It will also be so wonderful to resume our four in-person get-togethers/events: on St. Mary’s Day, on a Sunday in August, in mid-December, and on Christmas Eve night. – Raffaela Kane

⚓ I am very much looking forward to eating out in a restaurant with my friends. – Carmen Lysaght, East Greenwich

⚓ Contra dance. I’m not sure what normal will mean post-pandemic, but for me “normal” means Contra dancing once or twice a week. Unfortunately, my favorite thing to do is a high-risk activity when there’s a deadly virus running rampant. – Lisa Lunt

⚓ I am looking forward to doing just about anything and everything, without worry and stress. – Donna L. Abelli, Plymouth, Massachusetts

⚓ Going out for dinner and cocktails with friends in 2021. – Jude Q., Exeter

⚓ Spending a week (or two) at my parents’ house in New York, watching my kids play with my niece and nephew while I drink beers with my brother and sister-in-law with no worries. And going out for sushi with my husband! – Sam Andersen, Providence

⚓ Looking forward to making spontaneous decisions about eating out, shopping, and traveling. – Elizabeth O’Neil, Warwick


⚓ The Rhode Island doctor who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will get his second dose on Saturday, but he’s warning that the pandemic is in one of its worst stages right now. Read more.

⚓ The state Supreme Court’s ethics advisory panel ruled that prosecutors can advise police to release videos from body-worn cameras before trials, but police may not make comments about the videos beyond the facts. Read more.

⚓ Residents in Central Falls have begun getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

⚓ Heartbreaking news: The two year-old Providence girl who was rescued from a house fire that killed her older sister a few days before Christmas has died. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent a round of Happy Birthday wishes to: William J. Murphy (58), Angelika Pellegrino, Kelly Rogers (33), Alice Gallant (97), Seth Klaiman, John McManamy (69), Paul Paquin (78), Ty William Cotta (14), James Stitt (21), Ron St. Pierre, Denis Rochefort (38), Laurie Ratigan (29 forever), George Adams (18), Jake Lacouture (17), Luis Vargas, Lee Dooley, Ric Santurri, Andrew Morse, Julie Tremaine, state Representative-elect Jose Batista, Jenna Wims Hashway, and Julio César Aragón.


Booze: When you’re sipping champagne (from home) tonight, you should know that 2020 was the 100th anniversary of prohibition, and my colleague Emily Sweeney has a fantastic story about how New England was a hotbed for illegal liquor. Read more.

Business: Jon Chesto has an interesting look at Governor Charlie Baker’s $650 million small business aid package. Read more.

Sports: Columnist Dan Shaughnessy has a poignant story on how Celtics legend Bob Cousy is dealing with the deaths of so many of his former teammates over the last couple of years. Read more.

Environment: Massachusetts is going to require that all new cars sold in the state be electric by 2035. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Don’t miss this fun Globe virtual event at 7 p.m. where we’ll show you how to make the perfect New Year’s Eve champagne cocktail.

⚓ Please be smart tonight. Stay home. Order takeout or pick up from a local restaurant. Here’s a helpful guide with plenty of restaurants to choose from.

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.