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Safer-at-home orders showed our readers what they most appreciate

Many enjoyed being able to focus on spending quality time with family, while others can’t wait to get a haircut.

Amid the steadily increasing number of coronavirus cases in Florida and in Tampa Bay, the shortages of meat, toilet paper and cleaning products, and the state’s unemployment woes, some good things did emerge from this era of social distancing.

People have used their free time during pandemic precautions to learn to cook untried recipes, adopt new hobbies, explore DIY hairstyles, make family TikTok videos or design homemade masks, among other things.

Related: With more time in the home kitchen, it’s a chance to explore new cuisines

As the state gradually reopens and safer-at-home orders expire, many of us at the Times couldn’t help but reflect on the positive moments during this time and the things we learned to appreciate.

And turns out we’re not alone. We asked readers to weigh in and many shared how they were appreciative of things you cannot buy, like quality time with family and close friends.

“Spending time with family is priceless,” wrote Pasco resident Beth Blocker on Facebook.

“Slowing down. Enjoying each day,” wrote another Facebook user, Karen Aanes of Hernando.

Instagram user cindy_householder now appreciates “human to human conversation” more than ever.

Facebook user Deborah Pack warmed our hearts when she wrote that she appreciates the Tampa Bay Times.

One parent gained a newfound appreciation and respect for one occupation, in particular.

“I already appreciated my kids’ teachers, but now I know they’re truly saints,” said Instagram user erina661.

Others took a different approach, appreciating some of the self-care rituals that were stripped from them while nonessential businesses were closed. For St. Petersburg resident Joey Catalano, that included the freedom to go to the gym and get a haircut.

And for others, the pandemic showed them just how much they enjoy dining in at restaurants or grocery shopping without fear.

Facebook user Kimberly Hills Dickerson shared that she appreciated hearing “may I get you something to drink” before placing an order, while Pasco resident Michelle L. Davis realized how much she appreciated window shopping at Target.

“Just wandering and looking,” she said. “Now every stop is a rush to get in and out without any fun at all.”