The Matador guide to Social Distancing


With the onset of the coronavirus and an endless parade of dreary headlines, one new term has taken root in our vernacular: social distancing. Social distancing is a fancy way of saying, “stay away from all of your friends, family, favorite restaurants, activities, and pretty much everything else you enjoy, for a seemingly interminable period of time.” It’s not something we ever imagined we’d have to do, but for a few weeks, social distancing and self-isolation will be our new reality. That means it’s time to get creative. 

In the coming weeks, you might find yourself with more free time than you’ve ever had before. But that doesn’t mean you should be staring out the window, refreshing the news every 10 seconds, and waiting impatiently for your favorite restaurant to reopen. Whether it’s indulging in escapism with some great travel books, experimenting with a new hobby, or continuing your regular social engagements via video chat, there’s plenty you can do to stay engaged -- both by yourself and with friends.

To help you tackle the new realities of social distancing, Matador has you covered. We’ve compiled reading lists of our favorite travel books, as well as the best shows to binge-watch. For those whose gyms are closed, we’re telling you how to bring your workout to a living room or green space near you. We’re offering expert tips on working from home (did you know the entire Matador team has been WFH for 14 years?). And, most importantly, we’re showcasing the humans who are finding creative ways to forge connections digitally -- from the LGBTQ artists streaming live performances to the Italian grandma teaching virtual pasta-making lessons

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected, entertained, and optimistic. Let’s get through this together. 

Coping in a Time of Crisis

This Italian grandma is holding virtual pasta-making classes to keep us connected

One of the most popular Airbnb Experiences in Italy goes virtual.

Pro tips for working from home, from the Matador staff who do it year-round

Millions of people opt to go without toilet paper. Maybe you should too.

Across the US, students confront college life without a campus

How cannabis dispensaries are finding ways to provide an essential service during the pandemic

What it’s like to be a black American woman abroad during COVID-19

How teachers are adjusting to virtual classrooms

These astronauts gave their pro tips for surviving social isolation

The US is running out of crowlers as breweries shift sales to-go

Give Back and get inspired

10 simple ways to help your local community combat coronavirus

Grassroots responses will go a long way.

How to support people in the hotel industry during COVID-19

How you can help hospitality workers affected by COVID-19

Faced with no guests, these wellness hotels are taking care of their staff

Local craft distilleries are the new, unexpected heroes in the fight against COVID-19

Stay fit and get outside

Your questions about exercising outside while social distancing, answered

Run, walk, hike, bike. But do it responsibly.

How to find remote green spaces near you to get out of the house

Night hiking might just become your new favorite outdoor activity

How to stay in shape at home when the gym is closed

Why wild camping is the ultimate de-stressor

9 workouts you can do on literally any vacation

How to stay hydrated in 2020, according to someone who hates water

These constellations are in full force this spring. Here’s when to watch them.

Seriously, now is not the time to thru-hike

Fill up your free time

9 boardless, cardless games to play anywhere

Free and easy entertainment.

Online classes that will keep you busy and inspired during isolation

Virtual ways to connect socially that don’t involve drinking

A stay-at-home vacation is actually the best way to sort out your life

5 iconic knitting patterns from around the world you need to master

The best language-learning apps and websites to try

The time to sing from our balconies is upon us. These are the songs to sing.

The 9 plants you can keep alive even if you travel a lot

5 ways the world tackles spring cleaning

11 ways to up your photography game during quarantine times

5 expert tips for tracing your family lineage

10 common mistakes language learners make (and how to fix them)

21 drinking games you can play in any bar

Dive into a book

Cheerful books that will bring you joy during this isolating, scary time

Ward off the doom and gloom.

12 books that will take you armchair traveling in 2020

8 books that will take your taste buds on a global journey

5 travel memoirs by women that will inspire you to hit the road

The best travel memoirs to read while you’re stuck inside

12 books by black authors that will feed your desire to travel

When women adventure, they change the world. This children’s book proves it.

5 underrated books that’ll convince you travel is good for the soul

The New York Public Library lets you download more than 300,000 books for free

Breathe Deep and Unwind

A therapist’s guide to boosting your mental health when you’re socially isolated

Banish negative thoughts from taking up space in your head.

How to embrace the art of slow living, according to mindfulness experts

Tips for moving your yoga practice from the studio to your home

5 breathing exercises you can do to ease anxiety

Everything you need to know about having sex while social distancing

How feng shui can make you feel cozier at home, according to experts

5 cool types of meditation and how to experience them

6 different types of yoga that you can try around the world

How to protect your relationship during quarantine

Get in the Kitchen (or just drink)

19 of our favorite comfort foods from around the world

From cheesy to warming to cheesy again.

How to preserve, pickle, and dry foods in your new free time

Now’s the time to get really good at baking bread

You should be shopping at Asian groceries during the coronavirus crisis — and long after

It’s time to embrace the Finnish tradition of drinking in your underwear

7 unique ways people drink tea around the world

This family is making a meal from every country in alphabetical order

11 cookbooks from the best bakeries across the US

The 7 healthiest cuisines in the world you should learn to cook

Connect with Family

How people are coping with being far from family when borders are closed

International students are going through a particularly hard time.

How to reduce family stress at a time of crisis

What to do when your active kids are stuck inside

How to use the unschooling approach to ease the stress of homeschooling

Pro tips for working from home with kids in the house

6 free or inexpensive apps and websites that make home-learning a breeze

How to create structure for your kids when you’re all at home

7 reasons now is the perfect time to try cloth diapering

How to support families with kids when you can’t be there in person

Stream it

9 travel podcast episodes to help you mentally escape your home

The best museums to visit virtually from your sofa, and what to look at

This calendar shows the live music streaming shows you can watch at home

Netflix Party extension allows you watch and chat with friends while you’re stuck at home

10 films that show the beauty of Europe

7 films you can stream on Disney+ that will inspire you to travel

These virtual field trips will keep you busy during quarantine

Airbnb takes its popular Experiences online to keep you entertained at home

Have some Pride

Global Pride 2020 going virtual is a lesson in making Pride accessible for everyone

This event will be accessible regardless of disability, location, or socioeconomic status.

The best queer content to stream from home in April

12 LGBTQ films and TV shows to help you explore the world from your home

5 LGBTQ books to celebrate pride all year long

10 LGBTQ headlines from around the world that prove there’s a lot of good happening

Hang out with these nine queer icons in quarantine

The best LGBTQ events you can attend without leaving home

Looking forward

In Wuhan, hot dry noodle vendors reopening is a welcome sign of normalcy

This beloved breakfast tradition isn’t going anywhere.

Things will not be back to normal by summer

8 ways to prepare yourself to be a better traveler when life returns to normal

How the rise of virtual drinking will change the way we socialize

Sorry, getting that airline refund might take a while. Here’s what to expect if you try.

Don’t rush to buy next season’s gear online. Your local gear shop needs your business.

Why we’ll need exchange student hosts more than ever next year

What travel bans mean for the Australians who needed tourism after summer bushfires

Thanks for checking into the dystopia. We hope you learn something while you’re here.

Uplifting News

This Jersey City chef wants to feed ‘literally anybody that comes our way’

“If you know someone in need we will feed them, no questions asked.”

Austrian design studio plans stunning maze-like park for social distancing

Lions in South Africa’s Kruger National Park are taking over empty roads and golf courses

A Colorado bookstore delivers ‘mystery bags’ of books via bicycle to customers on lockdown

Dogs may be trained to sniff out coronavirus to help stop the spread

Princess Sofia of Sweden will assist medical workers during the pandemic

Tonight, the American flag is being projected onto the Matterhorn in a display of solidarity

New Yorkers will belt out ‘New York, New York’ from their windows and balconies tonight

Celebrity chef José Andrés promises doctors and nurses will eat for free at his restaurants for the rest of 2020

Emirates rolls out rapid pre-flight COVID-19 tests for passengers

99-year-old British army veteran raised over $17 million for health services

In Indonesia, patrols dressed up as ghosts scare people into staying indoors

Attention amateur bakers: this sourdough library offers virtual tours

UK travel industry unites to give healthcare workers free vacations

A 93-year-old woman ran out of beer, and Coors came to the rescue

Lego is making 13,000 face visors a day for hospital workers in Denmark

Austria is the first European country to ease coronavirus lockdown measures

United Airlines flew a team of health workers from San Francisco to NYC to help battle coronavirus

Georgia bar donated all the dollar bills stapled to its walls to staff

Masked man hands out free weed and toilet paper to locked-down residents

Unfazed by coronavirus fears, cruise bookings are up for 2021

Pet shelters ‘sold out’ of adoptable animals due to COVID-19

Iconic San Francisco bookstore facing closure raises over $451,000 in just three days

In these locked-down cities, animals are taking over the vacant streets

Amid worldwide lockdowns, seismic noise has gone way down

75-year-old Ugandan leader releases home workout video

All-girl Afghan robotics team builds ventilator out of car parts

Neighborhood in Ireland enjoys outdoor movie screenings during lockdown

Himalayas visible from Northern India as COVID-19 lockdown dramatically reduces pollution

Delta’s new cancellation policy allows passengers to rebook for two years

Soda Pup, the winery dog, does curbside wine deliveries during the coronavirus crisis

For the first time in 13 years, this panda couple mated in Hong Kong shuttered zoo

Andrea Bocelli will give an Easter performance from Milan’s iconic Duomo Cathedral

The world’s best restaurant prepares thousands of meals for front-line workers

New Zealand’s strong response to the coronavirus crisis is already paying off

Spain to establish basic income to help citizens through the coronavirus pandemic

Several European countries eyeing tentative return to normalcy

These charts show the dramatic decline of traffic in cities around the world

Rehabilitated koalas to be released from Australian hospital

At this Belgian zoo, orangutans and otters make unlikely friends

Video shows Yosemite National Park full of animals in the absence of humans

Donate your ski goggles to medical workers on the front lines

This Facebook group is helping medical workers self-isolate by matching them with unused RVs

Check out spring’s spectacular flower blooms live from the safety of your home

Atlanta medical workers fly to NYC to aid in the fight against coronavirus

Amazon will partner with SXSW for a virtual film festival

Drone footage captures ‘isolation disco’ party in Newcastle

This best-selling illustrator is hosting daily online drawing classes for kids

With ‘suspended shopping’ Italians are paying it forward during the coronavirus crisis

The New England Patriots team plane is carrying 1.2 million surgical masks from China

Mountain goats are taking over this Welsh town during lockdown

The International Center of Photography wants to see your pandemic photos

Outdoor influencer launches a contest to create indoor adventure scenes

Livestream the northern lights to stay connected with the outdoors during self-isolation

Oakland and other cities are converting hotels into housing for the homeless

Social distancing measures are slowly paying off in Italy, San Francisco, and elsewhere around the world

Faced with no guests, these wellness hotels are taking care of their staff

Two puppies ran free in a closed aquarium, and the video is adorable

Airbnb is offering free housing to 100,000 COVID-19 responders

The Smithsonian Channel released 68 free ‘Aerial America’ episodes for a hefty dose of isolation escapism

Make cocktails, cook, and salsa dance with Puerto Rico’s weekend of free virtual classes

Memphis is holding a three-day virtual music festival this weekend

This cowboy museum’s security guard is now in charge of social media, and his posts will have you laughing

Rugby commentator hilariously narrates everyday life as virus cancels all sporting events

Four Seasons Hotel in NYC is offering free rooms to medical workers

Ryan Reynolds’ liquor brand is donating part of its proceeds to out-of-work bartenders

Support your favorite restaurants on Tuesday during the Great American Takeout

Tinder is making its Passport feature free to help you cope with social distancing

Hundreds of libraries and museums have released downloadable coloring books

During lockdown, people get creative with workouts, bingo, and dance sessions

Mallorca police put on an uplifting concert for citizens in lockdown

TV medical dramas are donating their supplies to hospitals

Independent bookshops in England are offering home delivery during the coronavirus crisis

Customer leaves $9,400 tip to help Houston restaurant through the coronavirus closure

NYC bars and restaurants are getting creative with cocktails to go

Two children put on a cello concert for their elderly neighbor in self-isolation

José Andrés is converting closed restaurants into community kitchens

Wanderful is giving away 600 memberships for women in travel to connect while social distancing

Customer leaves $2,500 tip at this Ohio bar before its closure due to the coronavirus

Chicago aquarium lets penguins meet other animals during coronavirus closure

French luxury brand LVMH is using its factories to make hand sanitizer

John Oliver urges people to take 30 seconds to selfishly complain about the coronavirus

Italians in lockdown in Siena come together in song

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