Welcome to the new normal, or at least the norm for the next few years. Scientists are predicting that we will be living with the consequences of coronavirus for years to come. Zoom calls, wearing masks and social distancing are here to stay, long after June 21st, the date Boris Johnson hopes all restrictions will be lifted.
Packed bars and restaurants and even handshakes and hugs when greeting each other will be off limits. A poll of researchers by New Scientist magazine found that the consensus is that social distancing will be with us for several more years. The respondents said that this would inevitably mean that we’ve seen the last of crowded bars.
According to The Telegraph:
“There will be rules about drinking at the bar and rules around tables,” said Peter Ducker, the chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality. “It’s going to be a long time before we see the crowds that we’ve seen before. There will be hand sanitisers, there will be distancing between tables and other things.
Daily life is likely to become more “hands free”, with buttons on lifts and cash machines replaced with touchless options, experts say. “Shaking hands is probably out forever,” one leading microbiologist told peers last year.
Even traditional door handles in public places may be gradually phased out to allow doors to be opened easily with shoulders and elbows.
You won’t be able to hang at the bar and fraternise with the staff and you’ll have to order from your table too. You’ll order via an App on your phone.
The majority of scientists believe that face coverings will be with us beyond 2023. UK Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance even said this week, that mask wearing will probably be necessary next Winter, even if everyone in the country was vaccinated beforehand. Mark Jit, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that people will continue to wear masks, even if the instruction to wear them was lifted.
“It will stop being legally mandated at some point, but I think there will be a permanent culture change for people to wear face masks in public, especially when they have respiratory symptoms. We already saw that happen in Asia following Sars,” he said.
Welcome to the new normal.