Fresh Android Phone WITHOUT a Google Account

Is it possible to activate a brand new, “fresh” Android phone without a Google/GMail account?

Note that I do not want to use a custom ROM, or “de-Googled” it, but use it in a regular basis, download Play Store apps etc, using a more secure e-mail account/provider.

Utopia?

AFAIK, it is possible to activate a fresh Android phone without a Google account and use it as usual. All updates should be available like on any other phone.
Though, you won’t be able to download and update Play Store apps without a Google account, but Aurora Store will help you with that. That’s your only option.
You also won’t be able to use paid apps if this is one of your concerns.

APK? Like Apkpure, uptodown and apkmirror

Can you pay for a paid app on Aurora that normally requires a Google Play account, like MySudo?

There are lots of ways to install an android app, and anonymous ways to pay for paid apps. The nuances to me can hardly be generalized.