By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
While the world battles COVID-19 as the virus devastates countries and crippling businesses the world over, we will be dealing with a new phase of social lifestyles that will again haunt the recuperation of the already fallen businesses hoping to find their way back in a post-COVID-19 pandemic.
With states of emergencies declared in a majority of the countries with only essential cervices allowed to operate, most commercial businesses like restaurants, malls, schools, and colleges forced to close down temporarily, and people are now turning to online technology for their educational and household needs.
And for the impact in public eateries, the national preventive measures have brought about a moment of reflection, especially for the older generation who used to view family dinner, prepared at home, as the most momentous moment in their lives.
‘I am worried about the virus, but it has been years since I have the opportunity to share with my family the happiness of a homemade family dinner,” said an elderly man who said society is no longer what it used to be.
“Everyone is so busy. We seldom care about each other.”
He is not the only one making this observation. With the shortage in most household accessories like toiletries, most people now resorted to the old way – water; a valuable resource for cleanliness made defunct by toiletries. Fortunately, man’s ability to adapt and adjust to every challenge thrown in his way is the reason for his continuous survival and domineering of the world. For centuries, diseases have inflicted humanity with varied devastations, wiping out thousands of people; but we survived, we adapt, and we continue to thrive.
With the latest global confirmed cases at 487,648; total deaths: 22,030; total recovered: 117,749 (JHU), the present public health pandemic is just one of the many that have changed the ways of humankind. The interventions by governments and people’s adherence to public warnings, and quickly adapting to the new ways of life, is a manifestation that a post-COVID-19 pandemic will usher in a new mentality in the way people will be doing things. It is foreseeable that though commerce will again be on its footing, most people will still have to readapt, but with a sense of fear about the probability of getting exposed to another viral infection while socializing in public places.
No matter what sort of reassurance by governments and commercial billboard adverts mounted by private businesses, there will be a shift in the way people socialized, especially in restaurants. The most affected, therefore, will be the hospitality business and eateries, among others. With such a foreseeable change in behavior, these business sectors will also need to readapt to meet the needs of these people who might have realized the benefit of eating a home-cooked meal with families and loved ones.
The other aspect of the disease is looking at the long-term health impact of people exposed. It is understandable the goal now is to control and stop the disease through quarantining and treating infected people, but understanding the long-term impact is critical for people to get the confidence of returning to the old ways of doing things. I am hopeful stakeholders address the long term fear of public gatherings. That efforts put in place on an international level to ensure transparency and prompt sharing of information about viral diseases for quick intervention and control of any other potential outbreak that might again cause a pandemic.
At this moment in our fight against COVID-19, clean your hands often; don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth, keep 2 meters away from others when possible; if you feel unwell, stay at home when you can; listen for orders from your local government to stay at home, and cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow.