We’re all desperate for life to return to normal, but will we ever again feel comfortable “out there”?
05/05/2020 // Tracey Watson // Views

In the past week or two, media reports have increasingly featured images of hordes of angry protesters taking to the streets – many not wearing masks – insisting that lockdown restrictions be lifted so that they can get back to work and normal life can resume once more.

Based on this, we could be forgiven for believing that the vast majority of Americans are ready to get back out there, happily taking public transport, returning to work environments where multiple people work in close proximity to each other, sending their kids back to school, socializing freely with friends and family, and enjoying events that require packing large groups of people into small areas, like concerts and the movies.

But nothing could be further from the truth. While we might be yearning for all the things we could do freely before the coronavirus pandemic, a recent survey by the company Vital Vio has shown that Americans are now frightened to leave their homes, and the way we live our lives will likely never be the same again.

‘We’re far from normal life’

As reported by the organization Study Finds, Vital Vio’s survey found that 16 percent of respondents expressed doubts that they would ever feel comfortable going out in public again, while 60 percent now worry about the hygiene practices of their friends and family, and as many as one fourth say they will seek other employment if their employers do not ramp up worksite cleaning practices. (Related: How long does coronavirus last on surfaces? (And how to clean and disinfect surfaces properly.)


“While COVID-19 conversations have started shifting from shutting down to reopening the country, the truth is that we’re far from normal life,” Colleen Costello, CEO and co-founder of Vital Vio, told Study Finds. “In fact, our report spotlights how Americans’ heightened germ concerns could push them to avoid social interactions and public spaces unless absolutely necessary, even after it’s deemed safe by the government.”

A whopping 40 percent of the survey’s respondents indicated that they would continue avoiding public spaces unless “absolutely necessary,” even after lockdown restrictions have been completely lifted.

Among those who said that they would feel comfortable entering public spaces in the future, 33 percent said they would wait a few weeks before doing so, while 26 percent said they would wait for up to two months.

“For the foreseeable future, our ‘new normal’ will likely mean more aware and cautious citizens – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Costello explained. “It’ll push businesses and public environments to become cleaner and individuals to be better about personal hygiene.

“However, it’s important that Americans stay informed about the facts – understanding, at a high level, the science behind disease spread, and the simple steps they can take every day as well as technologies available to protect themselves and their families,” she added.

Survey respondents also indicated that they are not just afraid of getting sick from being out in public spaces, but that they are worried about bringing germs into their home environment via packages, mail or their groceries, with 57 percent indicating that they now disinfect these items before bringing them inside. (Related: Can shoes and clothes bring the coronavirus into your house?)

And business owners will have to go out of their way to reassure their clients that they have made the changes necessary to provide a safe environment. More than two thirds of the survey respondents indicated that they would hold businesses accountable for how they clean and sanitize their spaces, while more than half say they will not visit businesses that are not transparent about their cleaning practices.

One thing is for sure: “Normal” life post coronavirus will likely look nothing like it did before the pandemic, and we should all start wrapping our heads around that fact, even as we yearn for the past.

Stay informed, stay alive. Bookmark Pandemic.news.

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