It was only a few weeks ago when it seemed like we were starting to get back to normal. Lockdowns were a thing of the past, restrictions lifted and we felt how lucky we were to beat this disease and get back to where we left it, somewhere back in March after a few months in isolation. Apparently, it was just an illusion, as we find ourselves in the midst of a second wave around the world. The number of infections is rising, and it feels like there is still a very long way ahead of us. Will things ever go back to how they were pre-Covid?
Imagine how life post-Covid would look like, six to twelve months forward, or possibly even further down the track. Would things ever go back to how they used to be? Probably not, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it. Let’s have a preview on a foreseeable future and how this pandemic might change the world for good (or bad, depends who you ask).
Go Online: much more, and more efficiently
Due to physical distancing and the complexity the Covid restrictions present, it’s boost time for businesses and service providers to transition their services online. We’ve seen that immediately at lockdown with educational services – schools switched to online learning in a matter of days, with universities to follow. Many other services who currently ask customers to “give us a call” rather than “show up at our premises” would make the extra step and convert their phone systems into an online solution where customers are given services through video chats. Doctors have started doing that already, other services will follow, where possible. Office life will change forever, with “working from home” the standard way for many employees. That scene from “Back to the Future” when Marty is having a video chat with his boss and gets fired – that’s here and now…
Nationalism, rather than Globalisation
In the past few years, whenever the G7 or G20 conferences were happening in different capitals around the world, people were demonstrating against Globalisation. I never really understood Why, what’s so bad about it? it allows people a lot more opportunities to migrate and work in other countries, it boosts international trade and world economies and it leads to open-border policies that bring us all together. I’m clearly missing some of the negatives here, particularly around the impact it has on poor economies and the abuse of cheap workforce.
Then came Covid and highlighted other aspects of the problem. The massive number of people traveling around the world, for business and pleasure, had caused the spread of the pandemic in a matter of days and weeks. Countries are now closing their borders and may change their long term policies around the number of visitors they may accept in the future. Immigration laws and quotas may change accordingly. The continuing Trade War between USA and China, aligned with more and more right-wing national leaders gaining more influence and control in countries all over the globe, may lead to further Nationalism. Every country to itself, boost their own regime, their own economy, mind their own people and don’t-mind their neighbours, and less-so care about other parts of the world. In the Trump-era, more leaders are following a hard line of disregard to other human beings. Who knows, it may lead to the breakup of the European Union, global trade may shrink, and World War III is on the cards again.
Cleaner, safer, less physical contact
One thing we figured out during the pandemic is how much we haven’t cared enough about cleaning – our hands, our buses, trains, public places, anything. All of a sudden, public servants who look like the Ghostbusters are sanitizing our streets and in Australia after months of water restrictions following one of the worst droughts in years, we’ve been asked to stop saving water and wash our hands plenty of times a day. Hand sanitizer are now a mandatory item in our bags, our cars, any shop or public place you go to. Our hands are now cleaner than ever, I wish we could say the same about politicians and leaders around the world.
However, another side effect, a change in behavior, crawled into our society’s everyday lives. The lack of physical contact, the way we greet each other, the way we support others. No hugging, no kissing, no handshakes, no high-fives. Absolutely no contact and keep a meter and a half away from anyone other than your family. Treat everyone else as if they are infectious. We had been suppressed from showing any act of compassion towards each other. Our only resort is the elbow bump…
Travel domestically, support your local communities
So the skies are likely to remain closed until the end of the year. Whenever we see a passenger aircraft in the sky, we rub our eyes thinking this is impossible. Surely those people who live close to airports are relieved that the noise levels are 99% less than it used to be pre-Covid. In the pacific, our only hope is the Tasman-Bubble which is meant to open up borders between Australia and New Zealand, but even that is being pushed back as a second wave looms. So where do we spend our holidays? Domestically.
It’s very important to support your local communities, especially in such a harsh time financially. While restrictions are removed and we’re able to move around and travel a bit, this reality provides a great opportunity to push the local tourism and support those affected. It’s also a great way to revive ourselves post lockdown, get out of the city and breath some clean air. Just don’t forget to wear your face mask.
Keep safe, and wash your hands.