Loneliness Drives Return To Classic Pastime

Mar 29, 2020

Cruise nights are pleasant diversions for many communities

As COVID-19 keeps people isolated and experts recommend social distancing, communities are coming up with ways to support one another and come together without actually getting near one another.

Teresa Weller of St. Paul put out a Facebook post asking friends whether they remembered when St. Paul had its Friday night cruise nights each weekend, pointing out it complied with social distancing guidelines.

Weller had 122 reactions and 58 comments on the post. Her phone constantly buzzed with calls from people telling her they would like to do a cruise night.

Weller put out another post about the cruise night on Friday, March 20, saying, “Meet you on the bricks!” and 40 cars did just that.

Members of the community wanted to do it again Saturday night, when 110 cars and one tractor took to the streets.

“My kids counted that there were so many cars it took 30 minutes to go five blocks,” Weller said.

All ages participated in the event, including parents with young kids and high school-age kids.

Weller has heard members of the Class of 2020 saying how much fun they had, which made Weller think about how much happiness this is bringing to a class that has sacrificed many normal senior activities due to the virus.

“Happiness heals,” she said.

Weller said she noticed other communities doing cruise nights as well, noting that Cairo had one Friday.

Greeley and Elba held cruise nights last weekend, and Wood River is hosting a cruise night Saturday.

While cruise nights are a great way to get the community together, the North Central District Health Department has some guidelines for communities to follow, according to a news release.

The department recommends participants ride and remain with the people they live with; take advantage of drive-thru and curbside pickup options; don’t congregate in groups of 10 or more; remain 6 to 10 feet from others; stay home if they’re sick; be responsible drivers; and always wear their seat belts.

Weller said that it sounds as if the community of St. Paul wants to keep doing cruise nights every Friday and Saturday night, even when COVID-19 leaves the picture.

The community is even making cruise night shirts to sell to other members, Weller said.

“This is my first crazy idea that has panned out,” she said.

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