I was going to start this blog off by stating that we are living in strange, disconcerting, or even scary times. But I refuse to be Captain Obvious. So let’s forget for a moment about where we are, and talk about where we are headed. What will change? What will not change? Going through such an ordeal is going to change us for sure. (Captain Obvious again) But how?
Our last pandemic was in 1918 with the Spanish Flu. They went through social distancing, wearing masks, and limited contact as well. And afterward started what became known as the Roaring 20s. A time of social rebellion and the beginning of the relaxation of the social norms that were constraining us. So when I hear the naysayers about today’s situation, I think about 1918 and the time period that followed. Here’s what I think will happen. I can’t wait to read this blog post a year from now. ; )
1. Face masks will not disappear. I’m afraid face masks are here to stay. I see people wearing them while driving. No one else in the car, just them. I’m not even going to try to figure that one out. I don’t believe it will be like China, where you see thousands of people wearing them. But you’ll see face masks more often, especially during flu season.
2. Hand shaking and Hugging will not disappear I hear this one more than most other predictions. From supermarket cashiers to TV pontificates, we will no longer shake hands or hug when all this is over. I just don’t see this happening. Human interaction is too great a need. We are naturally social creatures. We need to touch, hug, shake hands, kiss, etc. (And the etc. can be the best part!) I will admit that this sort of intimate social interaction may come back slowly, but it will come back.
3. Bars and Restaurants will eventually be the same again, but with a twist. People crave social interaction. And restaurants are our main social interaction sites. The question is how long will it take? These establishments can’t just reopen and go right back to normal. Odds are that they will be forced to run at a limited capacity at first, and maybe for quite a while. But eventually, it’ll go back to the fun days of old. I also think there will be an increase in the percentage of To Go Orders. Not only will restaurants be more efficient at it, their patrons will be more trusting of it. I think that To Go Orders will see a natural increase. It will be a larger percentage of restaurant income in the future.
4. There will be a huge increase in Technological Knowledge. This will be the most significant change of all from our days of isolation. People have been forced to telework. And most of them have never worked from home before. They have had to use and learn technology that they never thought they would. And not just computer technology, but cell phone and tablet as well. They’ve also learned that they can work from home. That they can be productive, organized, and creative. And most importantly, how much more relaxing it can be. I emphasize can.
Conversely, companies who never would have allowed teleworking have been forced to accept it. They are learning not just new levels of technology, but new levels of trust. Trust is the cement that holds society together. It makes people eager to be part of a relationship. And anytime we can increase trust, we reach a new level in a relationship. The increase automatically enhances dedication, talent, and energy. (Jaffee, 2018) These professional relationships will never be the same again. Once companies learn that these employees can be trusted at home, a whole new world opens up. This whole new level of trust will be the first step in a new employee/employer relationship. A situation that forces one to trust can be a very enlightening one. The corporate world is about to change, and for the better.
5. Prohibition will finally truly begin to end. Many states have archaic liquor laws that should have gone down the drain years ago. In West Virginia, you cannot buy beer on Sunday until 1pm. Yep, right when the football game starts. In Delaware, you cannot buy beer at all on Sunday. And don’t even think of taking a beer from bar to bar unless you are in New Orleans. The old Blue Laws need to end around the country. The forcing of bars and restaurants into Take Out Orders only have also forced some temporary relaxing of liquor laws. These establishments need liquor sales to bring in more money. I think that once our local governments and citizens see that society will not crumble because someone is have a glass of wine or beer in a park, their eyes will open. The police are already turning a blind eye to it during this time. Many towns and cities could benefit from the relaxation of these laws. Laws put in place to relieve the fear of Prohibition ending. And Prohibition ended on December 5th, 1933.
6. There will be a new appreciation for friends and family. Needless to say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. We all miss friends and family that we cannot be around right now. And Zoom meetings help, but are not the same.
7. Video conferencing will continue to increase. No, it doesn’t replace true interaction. But virtual happy hours are a great way to stay in touch with those who we cannot see on a regular basis. We have learned this, and will continue to utilize this great aspect of technology. Virtual Wine Tastings are becoming popular as well. For those who enjoy educational experiences, many have discovered that this is a great way to interact and learn.
8. Personal Sanitation Practices are here to stay. I spent many afternoons standing in front of a sink, with a stop watch in my hand, teaching staff how to properly wash their hands. Twenty seconds is a lot longer than most people realize. The lesson was quite an eye opener for many of them. But now everyone understands this practice, along with the frequency of hand washing. And properly sanitizing surfaces will become a must in most homes.
9. And yes, there will be a Baby Boom. Why wouldn’t there be? Everyone has plenty of time on their hands. We have to kill it somehow. I wonder what they will call this next generation. The Covid Crew? Quarantine Babies? The Corona Generation? I can think of a certain beer company who would love that.