Many countries around the world are slowly easing restrictions as the spread of the coronavirus has started to slow down. But, do any of us really know what life will be like on the other side of this pandemic? Will we ever be able to travel, shake hands or enjoy a film in a theatre again? Experts have many opinions, and while nobody knows anything for certain, let’s take a look at what we can expect in the months and years to come.
1. Intermittent Lockdowns
While the development of a vaccine is underway and might be ready as early as September, until the vaccine is approved, the world could continue to see intermittent lockdowns in areas where the spread of the virus cannot be curbed. If treatment isn’t ready quickly, experts say the virus could force governments to implement lockdowns intermittently, depending on surges of cases for another few months.
2. Social Distancing Outdoors
Shaking hands, hugging friends or even catching up for a quick coffee could fall into the cracks of history for a long time. Once restrictions are lifted, the major threat that all of us face is a second wave of the virus. If a vaccine is developed, it shouldn’t be too troublesome. But if medication isn’t ready yet, we will all have to maintain social distancing norms for a very long while. This could mean avoiding malls and theatres at all costs and greeting people with a ‘Namaste’ instead of shaking their hands.
3. Travelling Light
Airlines have been affected quite badly by the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of flights grounded as borders across the globe have closed. Even once borders open up and passengers are allowed to travel, the issue of social distancing could mean that only certain seats will be allowed to be booked or filled. Some seats will have to remain empty and flights will work at less than 100% capacity. This will likely mean that ticket prices will surge and many of us will no longer be able to afford to travel – at least for a while. Airlines like Etihad and Emirates believe that it will take until 2023 for their passenger counts to reach pre-pandemic levels.
4. Smaller Weddings
In India, we’re used to large weddings with several hundred guests turning up to shower the couple with their blessings and good wishes. But, according to a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, large social gatherings should be curbed to not more than 50 people going forward. This could mean that large festivals and weddings may look very different this year.
5. Working Remotely
The spread of the pandemic forced companies to allow their employees to work from home while schools quickly shifted their classrooms online to ensure that children could continue to learn. Going forward, companies may be more willing to let their people work from home when they’re ill or need to attend to personal business. Schools may have to continue the online model for a few more months, especially since children may be more susceptible to contracting and spreading the virus. Even once educational institutions reopen, things may not go back to ‘normal’. In Denmark, where schools have already been opened, teachers have spoken out about how children are no longer allowed to play together, give their friends high-fives or touch at all. This could very well become our reality in the upcoming months.
The coronavirus pandemic has definitely brought our lives to a standstill right now. But once things start moving again, in all likelihood, it’s going to look very different from the world we used to know. Wearing masks will become a part of our daily routine and going out to malls or theatres may no longer be anybody’s idea of fun. Once there’s a vaccine in place, however, things may get back to a normal that could look a bit familiar to our pre-pandemic world.