During the COVID-19 pandemic, some are taking extra time to prepare special home-cooked meals. (Stock photo)

COLUMN: Our pre-pandemic world will not return

After some of the changes I’ve been seeing, I don’t want life to go back to the way it was earlier

The world changed in mid-March.

Governments around the world imposed restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost immediately, life as we had known it was altered and forever changed.

Physical distancing directives have become a fact of life.

Many businesses have laid off staff or reduced hours. Others had their staff working from home.

Some, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sector, closed their doors entirely and are only now beginning the process of reopening. Church services, concerts, festivals and other gatherings were halted.

Hand washing has become much more frequent, and many are now wearing face masks in public spaces as a way to help slow the spread of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: The world is changing — in some ways for the better

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Virtual gatherings during the pandemic

Each day, new pandemic statistics are released.

At the same time, many have been asking when life will return to normal once again. This question saddens me.

After some of the changes I’ve been seeing over the past few months, I don’t ever want life to go back to the way it was earlier.

The world we used to know involved many of us working at frenetic paces, trying our best to juggle hectic schedules.

For many, pace of life has slowed down.

Some are talking about how they have time to spend in their gardens, or how they have more time for exercise, reading or other personal interests.

Some are learning to bake bread or are spending more time preparing wonderful home-cooked meals.

Some are appreciating spending more time with their partners and their children.

Friends who used to answer the question, “How are you?” with answers like “Busy” or “Tired” are much more calm and relaxed now.

These are some of the good things coming out of this pandemic.

But this slower pace of life is also taking a toll on the economy.

A friend of mine, whose work hours have been cut for the past few months, tells me he is now saving more money than ever before.

He didn’t have extravagant spending habits before, but now his costs are lower since he does not drive as much or go out as often.

Others have shared similar stories.

If people are earning less and spending less, they are also putting less money into the economy. This will affect local businesses.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Calming voices of leadership

There are some voices calling for an immediate and complete lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions to minimize the financial effects of this pandemic.

They are asking how many families must be forced into bankruptcy and how many business owners must lose everything before the restrictions are finally lifted.

Their concerns are valid.

The economic impact of COVID-19 has been especially hard for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector. And since these businesses have been prominent in much of British Columbia, the entire province will experience long-lasting changes.

But I don’t see a return to pre-pandemic conditions as a good solution.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, some economists had been sounding alarms about spending patterns in Canada.

The household debt service ratio had been increasing every year.

This measures the proportion of principal and interest payments on debt as a proportion to total household income. A year ago, the average Canadian owed $1.79 for every dollar they earned towards disposable household income.

This is not sustainable. Something has needed to change.

Now a change is coming.

This is a painful transition for some and a time of adjustment for all.

But perhaps in the end we will emerge with something better than the fast-paced, high-stress patterns of busyness and increasing debt we knew before the pandemic forced us to slow down.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ColumnistCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Haze over Okanagan and Shuswap skies may have drifted from Siberia

Few active wildifres so far this summer in B.C.

Guerrilla Gigs replacing Streetfest this summer in Revelstoke

Buy one of 30 tickets the Sunday before the Wednesday show

UPDATE: Trans-Canada Highway open to single-lane traffic west of Revelstoke due to flooding

The highway between Revelstoke and Golden is also open again

Mt. Revelstoke summit and back country closed to dogs permanently

Dogs allowed on-leash only in some other areas

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Seymour Arm landslide interrupts drinking water to 500 people

The July 3 slide damaged a water system and a logging road.

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read