Strange news these days. Almost all the ‘feeds’ are the same, they are content to fill the first ten stories with Covid 19 numbers, “X new cases, Y now dead!” But these stories usually follow several announcements of re-openings of provinces, states, public facilities, etc. “We must still be vigilant but kissing and hugging is now gradually re-opening.”
I don’t get it.
South Korea (one of the best managed C-19 countries previously) re-opened (carefully) and so many people caught C19 already from just going to nightclubs they have now closed all the nightclubs. Duh.
Quebec is being savaged by the disease and the premier is keen to re-open. He wants the schools to be amongst the first. The day before the province began reopening, Quebec public health officials reported 892 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, and added 1,317 cases that had previously been missed by computer error. I never trust government and have virtually removed myself from their direct influence and yet, they have managed, in their efforts to re-open too soon, to drop even lower in my estimation.
Mind you, this blog is not just about diminished to non-existent trust in government, it is really an observation that the vast majority of people do NOT want to re-open as per government instructions. Or, better put, they have already adapted to a quasi-reopening of their own making (the lock-down you may recall it was mostly voluntary) and they are content to keep it that way. A few examples:
Costco is a model of ‘doing business’ in this time of plague. They are so good at it, their adjusted business model processes (very likely) the same amount of shoppers in a better shopping environment and everyone in the store is masked and gloved. Half the customers came dressed that way, too. Costco has a designated traffic controller at the front door letting in the exact number of shoppers as those who are just leaving. Four go in when four come out. There is another traffic manager at the cashiers. The best part of that, is that the lineups are smaller but, for Costco, the cashiers are still going full-tilt. It doesn’t appear as if Costco is losing a single customer. We went. Waited 15 minutes. Shopped in less time and paid and got out in less time. Estimate: maybe five minutes longer but much less frustration. I do not want Costco to go back to normal.
Other stores have adopted their own ‘C-19’ protocols usually just limiting customers to one or two at time. I guess that cuts down on community transmission and allows the staff to keep their distance. It also allows a bit more customer service and a more pleasant interaction. I like it.
Our community has embraced food delivery. We get a water-taxi delivering about $1500 – $2000 worth of food every week. For us, that’s only about ten to twelve orders but that is a dozen trips to town saved, hours spent shopping saved, no one exposed to random huggers and kissers and gallons and gallons of fuel saved. Why would we ever go back?
Admittedly, not every business can adapt and change so easily and well as Save-On and Costco. But there is no doubt that C-19 will alter the way some businesses operate in future and, in my opinion, some of it is for the better.
But, before I end on a happy note, let us stand in silent condolence for a minute for anything to do with public transportation. I think C-19 will alter travel habits forever and even with re-opening, the entire industry will never be the same. There will be more trucks on the road delivering and distributing and even direct-to-customer business models (street kitchens) but the passenger-car-to-the-mall at the drop of a hat will be less. Flying will be reduced. Mass transit (already loathed) will be changed by more people working from home. And so it goes.
Me? Well, I am thinking about one last winter away. So, I am looking at ‘how to get there’. And, to be honest, I was not keen on any of the ways to get anywhere save for driving my own car and that was BEFORE Covid. Today, I would not even consider a cruise-line and flying is almost as verboten. Packing in tight with people in a small space breathing recirculated air is simply not an option. Still, I look and the price of air fares is slowly going down but how is dropping a price 10% going to change anyone’s mind on sucking infected air? The only way people will fly happily in future is lots and lots of space between passengers, 100% fresh air, mandatory face masks and a dedicated cleaner for the lavatories and – even then – who needs it?
My point? Re-opening to normal cannot be realistically achieved anytime soon – perhaps never. It is time for the knuckleheads to re-think what ‘opening’ means now and make the necessary changes so that there is a chance at some kind of normalcy. Starting with nightclubs was just plain stupid. Following that with schools is even stupider.
In fact, it is no coincidence that hospitals should be the lead on this – they need to have screening and cleaning stations at every entrance. Which overpaid knucklehead can get that done?