While queuing outside Tesco, I thought that the tape marking the 2-metre social distancing spaces should be replaced with brass (a bit like the brass studs that mark the boundary of properties in shopping streets). They can then remain as a legacy after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Why? So that in 20 years’ time when our grandchildren ask what they are there for we can tell them about the great lockdown of 2020.
So, what other legacies might the crisis give us?
- We become a more friendly and tolerant society. Having been forced to slow down the pace of life we realise that we don’t have to constantly rush from one thing to the next. We remember the importance of family-time and prioritise this over other activities.
- More people work from home, having discovered that a lot of tasks don’t have to be done from the workplace. It becomes normal for all office workers to spend at least one day per week working from home. By staggering these days through the week, the amount of rush-hour traffic reduces by at least 10%.
- We know which of our neighbours are elderly and/or vulnerable and regularly check up on them.
- We appreciate the difference between necessities and luxuries.
- The habit of one period of exercise per day (whether we need it or not) continues after the isolation restrictions are lifted. A daily dose of exercise becomes the norm, rather than something only the ‘ultra-fit’ do
- ‘Furlough’ becomes the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year
- Television news programmes use fewer direct face-to-face interviews, replacing them with video links via social media. This saves the expense of bringing an interviewee to the broadcasting studio, or sending a camera crew to the interviewee.
- Internet Communications services such as WhatsApp, Skype, Teams, and Zoom (Zoom? Had anyone heard of Zoom before the isolation restrictions came in) introduce charges for calls involving more than two persons. Does this far-fetched? It’s been going on for years. As Tom Petty out it “the boys upstairs want to see how much you’ll pay for what you used t get or free”.
- We are a cleaner society where regular hand washing is practised. This has a beneficial effect on gastroenteritis illnesses, and the winter vomiting bug becomes a thing of the past.
- There are major changes to shopping practices. Online shopping takes a sharp upturn as people who have never used it before find how much more convenient it can be. There is a consequential downturn in High Street shopping. Stores compensate for this by reducing opening hours and/or closing on at least one day in the week. We might even return to something similar to the old Early Closing Day, when all shops in a town closed on a particular afternoon.
- There is a resurgence in small independent shops after people have discovered that the local butcher, baker and greengrocer are easier to get to and had shorter queues than the supermarkets.
- Cash all but disappears. Many shops accept card payments only and, having been unable to get to cash machines for so long, people begin to use internet banking transfers for all payments.
These are just a few of my ideas. Have you any other ideas on how the Covid-19 changes might permanently change the way we live?