For sure, compared to before Covid. And you have to ask the question about whether there will ever be a time when Covid is no more. But for now, what will be different in the UK compared to back in February 2020?
Most of us will continue to wear masks when surrounded by other people. We are so used to it. Remember the images from Asia after the Sars outbreak in 2003? These citizens didn’t just protect themselves and those around them, they were also masking the humongous fumes and toxic chemicals in the air in all their large cities. Today, even our young children are used to being masked; they may not fully understand why at this time, but they soon will, and it will be part of their daily routine.
I believe that working from home (WFH) will continue for all those who can, who are not customer-facing. There has been a lot of discussion in the past year or so about how people WFH are missing their face-to-face interaction with their colleagues; they will just have to get used to it. They probably already have. How much time have they saved, and how much pollution have they prevented by not having to travel to their office every day?
When I worked for the BBC as a broadcaster, I never understood why I, and all my colleagues, had to go to our office to produce and broadcast. We are a communication industry, so why can’t we communicate from wherever we want to, rather than a brand-new purpose-built office block that nobody actually needs?
All radio station and TV guests are successfully interviewed well away from studios these days; it works well, and the technology is only going to improve. At this time, the BBC allows its employees to sit at their workstation without a mask, but as soon as they move, to make a cup of tea, on goes that mask. So that’s more changes since pre-Covid.
I know the owners of gyms and similar businesses have suffered unbelievably during the pandemic, but is there a real need for them anymore? How many of us, me included, have downloaded apps to keep fit? Especially those who live in countries where outdoor activities were banned for so many months. How many of us have purchased actual equipment? The stats say plenty of us have, and we’re not going to change our habits now.
The consequences of these changes are so massive. There will be much less foreign travel, and less use of public transport, although I’m pleased to report that train travel in the UK has been deemed very safe at this difficult time. That’s because passengers are no longer allowed to imitate cattle on their way to slaughter, and have to be socially distanced. And yes, the trains are hygienically treated to be safe for regular use.
Maybe the biggest change of all is how we all look after ourselves. I felt absolutely awful the other day – sweating, dizzy and fatigued. It’s a urine infection, but guess what? I thought it may be something much worse, so I started to isolate myself from friends, and stayed at home. Something I would not have even considered 18 months ago.
Masks, masks, masks…
Sure, there will be changes. In fact, they’re taking place now.
First, the vaccination program. Soon it will be clear if you’re not vaccinated you will feel the difference in various kinds of limitations. Travel, access to various services or venues and much more. Kind of a second-rate person if you’re not vaccinated. It is unofficial but it is true. Could it be called a new discrimination? I guess, but this is well justified for health reasons.
But, second, and the most important, I think we’ve done some visual changes: people are now wearing masks. Before it used to be some Chinese or Japanese freak-out in the TV news.
We might argue about its effectiveness, but one thing is for sure: the visual change is here.
Now I wear a mask in public places in Moscow and don’t feel awkward or shy.
Now people around the world do the same. No problem.
You know, we’ll get used to vaccinations: this one will be just another one out of many other routine ones.
But the mask on the faces… Not sure I could get used to it. Visually.
The biggest change is to me.
I Hate Change
People hate change. Period – full stop… and stuff. For example: During the last year-and-a-half millions of office workers have been working from home. Now many businesses, maybe most, expect employees to report back to the office as soon as possible.
Why? How come? Look, if most of the office staff has proved they can work from home, why does the top management insist on leasing big buildings? They say the same goofy, corporate double-speak they used before Covid: “The team needs to be focused on the mission.” And “The creative environment fostered vis-a-vis face to face interaction is paramount to success.”
I think it’s more simple than that. If you’re some CEO or such, it has to feed your ego to pull into the parking lot and know these people all work for you. It took years for you to get the big corner office on the fifth floor. Now you are just supposed to trade that in for some lame metal garden shed? Hell no! Get your asses back in here!
But change is here and no amount of stomping your feet can stop it. In the US, the Governor of Florida decided the old ways are the best: no damn magnetic shots, no mask, and no big government telling you what to do. He is getting a big-time smack down in the courts and in the press. Yes, children can be told to wear mask in school; yes, cruise lines can require people to be vaccinated before boarding. He wants to become the President of Trumpminstan if the Dear Leader is in jail or otherwise occupied.
Here’s an idea! Why not move to a desert island? Someplace far away – like in the middle of the sea. Someplace where this crap doesn’t happen. Forget it, I tried that and it don’t work. Know why they are called desert islands? It’s so damn hot even the grass says “hell no”.
What were we talking about again? Oh yeah. So here they are coming out with something called an AdaPass. It’s some sort of digital thingy that says you got your two jabs. You will need that if you want to go anyplace crowded, like a restaurant. There is this big list of places where you will need this pass if you want to go inside. We ain’t in Florida anymore. Pretty much everybody will need this if they want to do anything fun.
You need a different digital pass if you want to travel with any airline to any destination. Governor DeSantis, Sir, that jet has already left the hanger.
I don’t have a digital hall pass so at least in the short-term, I’m stuck here, listening to the surf through my open window. I can’t fly anywhere. Guess I’ll just have to go down to Pisces & Spices and order something tall & frosty. God, I hate change.