Life After the Pandemic By Cheryll Boswell

As the first month of the new decade in 2021 ends, and the vaccine for the coronavirus that caused a global pandemic rolls out across the country, one has to wonder what life will be like after the pandemic. During the past 11 months, we’ve learned that breathing the same air in an enclosed room, touching things or even hugging someone can bring catastrophic consequences to our health. To adjust to lockdowns and shut-ins, most of us have made extreme changes to how and where we eat, live, work, get medical attention, and even worship.

January 6, 2021, showed us America has not come very far with acknowledging racism and the degree of hate that exists simply because you don’t check the same political box. Having gone from an insurrection to impeachment and an inauguration in a matter of 14 days, we’ve also learned just how vulnerable this country is and how strong we are as a nation.

Today’s grocery shopping will look different. Purchasing groceries online and having them delivered to our homes or even driving to the store to pick them up is the new standard for buying food.

Worship services inside a church building have not taken place for almost a year. Sitting in your favorite pew next to your usual seatmate on Sunday may change. Ministers may continue to preach or deliver eulogies on Zoom or other virtual devices after the pandemic. That’s not a bad thing, as it broadens their ability to reach parishioners.

The tourism and food industry, including hotels, airlines and restaurants, were two of the most affected business sectors. This industry is going to have to focus on the gold seal of cleanliness and safety before some of us ever return. Restaurants may have to hire someone just to wipe down tables and door handles as part of the gold seal. Hotels may replace the concierge with medical staff.

That old fashioned introduction with a handshake during a business meeting might be gone forever. Hugs may even be a thing of the past. Look for that jovial high five to be replaced with fists and elbow bumps.

Virtual learning is a newfound way of keeping students and teachers in touch with learning. Snow days just might be a thing of the past. We’ve learned there must be a way to ensure all children have access to learn digitally regardless of their physical capabilities, income or where they live. Virtual education is here to stay.

This pandemic has forced many of us to rethink how we seek medical advice and medical care. While not new, remote medical care will be a way for us to stay in touch with our primary care doctors or even specialist. During one of the early coronavirus briefings on television, a local doctor encouraged households to get three items, a blood pressure meter, an oximeter to measure your oxygen levels and pulse, and a thermometer to measure your temperature. These three items have been very helpful when my family has visited our doctors virtually. Be it virtually or in person, doctors still have waiting rooms. Whether you have private or public health care, it looks like the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.

When this pandemic is over, working from home may no longer be an option for those who have turned their dining rooms into offices. Going back to work in the office might bring joy and sadness. An uninterrupted work routine may be a welcomed sight. Dealing with that annoying co-worker or boss, not so much. Some scientific data suggest COVID-19 lockdown had a positive effect on the air quality. There has been less air pollution simply because people stayed home and drove less. This may be a good argument to continue working from home-I’m working from home for the good of our country.”

Life as we know it will be a little different at the end of this pandemic. New habits and practices are being formed as we adjusted to sheltering in place and learning new details about our life.