……………and how our world and way of life changed.
Whilst we are still in the middle of this global health crisis from the Covid-19 pandemic without any clear idea of when it might end, it seems churlish to look back and draw any absolute conclusions. It now seems certain that our life, business environment, the hospitality and tourism industry in particular, has changed forever and at best will take many years to recover.
The only hope coming out of the entire misery is that human society has learned a lesson or two…
We are now living in a world of social distancing, – don’t get closer than 1.5m to another human being or there might be a strong reprimand from a social distance warden. Social gatherings have almost come to a standstill. Don’t die or you will have a lonely funeral with no friends or relatives raising a glass to you at the wake. On the plus side, weddings have become a whole lot cheaper without 100+ guests, so that might be a blessing, especially for marriages that don’t last that long…
Without the European holiday or twice a year trip to Bali (for the Australians), many homes have received a much-needed renovation or upgrade and we have suddenly discovered that own country has some seriously beautiful spots to see and enjoy. Flying has entirely lost its glitter when you are required to sit covered with a facemask for the entire 10-hour flight, and if removed you, are politely asked by a stewardess with an invisible smile, to ensure it is correctly positioned over your mouth and nose again.
After much debate we are now using facemasks at work, in restaurants, on the bus, walking the dog, despite the fact that for close to a year we were advised it doesn’t help. At least it does protect you against bad breath from the salesperson behind the counter, not to mention the ability to covers up years of dental neglect! Seeing a surfer on his board with a face mask over the weekend did make me think that some people didn’t quite fully understand the reason for the face mask.
Hand sanitizers have become the latest must have accessory wherever you go, from the department store to the restaurant and hairdresser, not to mention the Chinese massage parlour requesting to hand sanitize on the way in and out! My doctor’s office has a huge sign at the door telling you not to come in if you feel sick! If I was feeling well why go to the doctor? Everyone now wears protective gloves, whether you are in the kitchen or doing some seriously heavy cleaning around the house, with the preferred colour being blue or black. There is a hand sanitizer for every place, the toilet, kitchen, department store and some take it even to the next level and measure your temperature.
If you venture out to buy a loaf of bread and milk for your morning coffee, by the time you get home you have been subjected to 5 hand sanitizer stations, 3 temperature checks, some app scanning and long queues waiting in line at exactly 1.5 m apart, to ensure you do not get a reprimand from the social etiquette Nazi. It’s really quite exhausting!
But this is now our life. We have learned to fall in line and follow the rules, even when occasionally they seem to make no sense. Lockdowns have become the new normal and whilst successful in some places, others have serious problem implementing and enforcing a lockdown that works.
It will be interesting to see how much progress is made in the next 12 months and which of the current restrictions are lifted or abolished entirely as people, weary of isolation, crave connection with others. Will our life return to the way we once knew without fear of catching the bug or do we have more to come to protect us from future pandemics? Only time will tell…
About the Author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.