For the 66th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Anna Zuver. Anna is a 25-year-old inline skater, Rollerblade Ambassador and A2A Event Director living in Decatur, Georgia. She works as a Licensed Massage Therapist at a clinical orthopedic-style massage therapy, chiropractic and corrective exercise clinic in Marietta.

What steps did Georgia take to battle COVID-19 and how are things there now?

March was a rollercoaster as new information came out, sometimes daily. Within greater metro Atlanta, a few small municipalities began shutting down restaurants & bars, followed by shelter-in-place suggestions from the Mayor of the City of Atlanta. Individual businesses did begin to shut down or change practices. April brought a 3-week statewide shelter in place order, issued by the Georgia Governor, however the order and followup orders were written with rather weak language, leaving many parts wide open to interpretation.

Currently, the state is recommending social distancing. Most operational businesses have changed practices (i.e. take-out only restaurants, limiting numbers of customers inside, by-appointment-only), but some are operating mostly as normal with signage to recommend distancing. The majority of people in my area wear masks inside stores. Vehicle traffic has picked up significantly over the last two weeks, and it looks like people are increasingly going into public outdoor spaces with friend groups such as Piedmont Park and The Beltline.

Were you skating during the lockdown?

I did skate during the “shelter-in-place” order, but only by myself. I am skating even more now, and have skated with a couple of select friends.

Where have you been skating?

During lockdown I skated mostly in very familiar places, with limited risk (i.e. 400m paved loops, quiet road courses). I’m still skating in the same types of places, but also have done a couple of city skates. I have really been enjoying the significant decrease in traffic, but the traffic is beginning to pick up again. 

Is there anything that would make you stop skating?

Exercise is an important part of keeping my body/mind healthy and happy – especially outside. I think I would only stop completely if my local government mandated that people not do outdoor activities. Thankfully, I have still been able to go outside, and go to places where I can distance from other people. 

Are you doing any cross training? 

I have been riding my bike a lot in addition to skating! Again, the decrease in traffic volume has been fun. During the shelter in place, I went on a couple of bike rides in downtown ATL – it was eerie how quiet, dark, and deserted everything was, but it was pretty fun to own the streets that are usually filled with cars.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time? 

While I haven’t been able to spend as much time on the weekends going out into the world, hanging out with friends, etc., I have been enjoying trying new recipes in the kitchen. I discovered an awesome recipe for buckeyes (peanut butter balls covered in chocolate), and my first-time chocolate chip scones were a dream.

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life? 

In some sense, my life has stayed rather consistent – my work volume actually increased, particularly since our clinic deals with pain-management cases. I have had to change my grocery habits – shopping for multiple meals at a time instead of just on the way home every couple of days. I also have been limiting my social interactions, which is challenging since I am highly extroverted. Skating is also different, not having been able to skate with groups of friends, or being able to go to speed team practices.

What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?

Right now, I think the most stressful thing for most people is not knowing how long everything will last, and not being able to plan far in advance. It stinks to not be able to do “normal life” things without major consideration or caution. It also stinks to not have a really clear understanding of the data, as the situation changes day to day and is still being researched. 

Truly, my biggest fear is that this “new normal” will last for the rest of my life, but I’m trying to be far more optimistic than that. Realistically, I don’t see an end to the COVID situation at large until there is readily available testing, and a vaccine – I do think our “new normal” will last for a while. I’m really hoping we can get to back to some racing and events next year, and hoping all the people far smarter than me have great success in understanding & containing this virus in record time.

How is your local skate community responding?

The local community in the outdoor skating/distance skating scene has had a mixed response. We still have not had any “official” APRR group skates, however some members, since March, have been using our club Facebook page to get small groups together to do unofficial night skates. Some skaters have chosen not to skate at all, some others have skated by themselves. 

From what I hear, some groups in the aggressive skating community are still getting together to skate various spots. The speed team has not had any official practices – some of the adult members have still been doing outdoor solo skating, but unsure of how the kids have responded. We’re hoping to start some physically distanced outdoor speed practices soon.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

I want to encourage everyone to continue to support each other and move forward with understanding and kindness. Follow guidelines from your local & federal government, pay close attention to scientists and healthcare workers, and seek to find quality sources for your information, instead of falling victim to social media headline sharing. Exercise tolerance and acceptance for people in your life who wish to practice a different level of caution than you, but do your part with the basics of mask wearing and hand washing. If you’re able, stay healthy by skating (with distance) outside! See you on the road…


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