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In March, as the pandemic took hold here in the states, we discovered more and more the things we took for granted. We expected these changes to be temporary, but as we enter our sixth month of the “new normal”, very little has changed and we don’t know if we’ll be able to go back to the way things were.
Hugs are number one on my list. I am a hugger and anyone who knows me would probably tell you that I’m really good at it! With social distancing, hugs are pretty much off the table for the foreseeable future.
Sports all but disappeared. It is said that this is the biggest disruption to the world of sports since World War II. The 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed to 2021 and most regular season games and events were postponed or cancelled. In an effort to keep players safe, the NBA moved teams to a “bubble” at Walt Disney World for practice and games. They were separated from their families for months, tested frequently and kept as safe as possible.
Dining Out has changed as well. Although restaurants are once again open, there are limits as to the capacity for dining rooms. Some restaurants have added to their capacity by making use of areas outside, but here in Florida we’re in our rainy hurricane season, so there’s no guarantee you can get through your meal before the rain comes.
Schools are reopening in some places now that we’re entering the fall and this has been a hot topic. In areas where the virus is till a major concern, some schools are working hard to keep our kids safe by holding both in person and online options and some have moved their classrooms outside where they can maintain that 6 ft. distance. Unfortunately, some of our teachers are trying to juggle both simultaneously and it’s proved to be a challenge. I mentioned in a previous post how we all had a new appreciation for our teachers when we first shifted to home schooling and I hope that we continue to support them as they face new challenges while trying to figure this all out.
Travel was halted for a time as well. Some major hotel chains completely shut down certain properties, others experienced falling occupancy rates. Cruises were postponed at first and then cancelled altogether, although some are expected to start resuming operations in September. Airlines are operating with limited capacity, leaving middle seats vacant. This may not be a bad thing for anyone who dares to fly right now, as flights are inexpensive and there’s plenty of room. Regrettably; this means though that many in the travel industry have been furloughed or laid off as this industry continues to lose money. With the increase in Covid-19 cases in the United States, Americans are denied entry into most countries.
Theme Parks and resorts took a hit in the beginning like we’ve never seen before. There are very few times in history where we can recall Disney shutting down it’s parts and resorts entirely, even for a day. In March, theme parks closed and most remained closed until June. Although many are reopen now, there is limited capacity and this has lead to continued furlough for the employees.
Entertainment became a serious struggle. Once you caught up on all your favorite shows, you had to revert to binge watching old favorites like The West Wing and Gilmore Girls. There were no summer block buster movie releases, no concerts, no Broadway shows. Personally, I’ve quarantined with Friends multiple times, binge watching the entire series twice. Avengers and Star Wars are my summer block buster movies and Hamilton is my theater.
Toilet Paper -seriously?! Who would ever have thought that we would be standing in line to buy toilet paper due to a virus outbreak? Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, masks and gloves were flying off the shelves. Things have settled down and toilet paper is available most everywhere again, but we continue to have issues with disinfecting wipes and sprays. We still have a huge need for masks and gloves, as businesses didn’t used to use them are now required to as part of the effort to contain the virus as we reopen.
Along with the things listed above, we could say we should include a few “essential workers” in the things we took for granted.
Medical Professionals certainly would top this list. Some traveled to hot spots to provide assistance, leaving their own families behind for months. Most worked long hours causing “mask mark” from the hours of continuous mask wearing. Sadly, not only was their physical health at risk, many fought mental health issues brought on by watching wave after wave of new cases coming. Restrictions on visitors also meant that they were the only human contact their patients had right up until their final breath.
Grocery Store Workers have to be in here too. Sure, we all had an appreciation of those who keep the shelves stocked, the cashiers, butchers and bakers prior to the outbreak, but that level of appreciation was definitely raised as a result of the virus outbreak. They worked long hours and put their own health at risk to make sure we were able to get what we needed quickly.
Delivery Drivers includes not only our UPS, FedEx and USPS drivers but our Amazon, Shipt, Instacart drivers as well. Let’s not forget those Uber Eats, Grub Hub and local restaurant delivery drivers either! How we relied on them to keep us safe by bringing our essential items right to our door!
We don’t know what changes may still be coming or how long our “new normal” will last, but I hope we don’t forget to appreciate the things we took for granted as we move forward.
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