THE other day I was chatting with my friend Milo Anzo, who is already up to here on news coverage about COVID-19 and is wiling away his days listening to old broadcasts of Chico and Delamar. We were speculating how this COVID-19 will change our lives, particularly with regard to what businesses will survive and what won’t.
I told him that all businesses WILL survive, unless the owner has gone bankrupt as a result of the long furlough. But they will reopen, maybe not all at the same time, because whatever existed before was an essential part of our life that we won’t be able to live without, COVID or no COVID.
Like “Let’s Face It” or “Karada.” And definitely Milkyway.
Maybe the face of the business will change a bit. As in Atlanta, Georgia where they’ve opened, barbershops here will see barbers wearing masks and maybe even gloves as they snip away or dye away (no pun intended there) at similarly masked customers, because either they or their customers may be asymptomatic virus carriers. The same will apply to nail salons, which may make work a little tougher for the staff but they’ll find a way. Or therapists at Karada and at spas. Masks and gloves will provide some new protection where none existed. (Hmm).
Banks are now at a new normal: in the past, anyone who walked into a bank while wearing a mask was suspect and most probably would need to fight his way past the guards. Today, anyone who walks through a bank door WITHOUT a mask would be suspect and would need to fight his way past the guards.
The bigger change would be to public transport. The pre-COVID horror images of mile long lines of MRT riders would be nothing compared to post-COVID lines; because the train cars will not be packed as before, it will require a longer commute time for the riders, who after clocking in as soon as they got to work would then clock out half an hour later. It’s going to be hell.
How about flights? I can imagine the middle seats in economy being left empty. Maybe the cost will be passed on to us passengers nearly doubling our ticket price. I doubt if we will see the peso fares any time soon as the airlines will have to recoup a lot of losses. (Come to think of it I wonder what will happen to my canceled PAL round trips to Bangkok (April 12-17) and Saigon (April 29-May 10)?)
Gyms will need frequent reupholstery: constant alcohol wiping of handles and mats and benches will damage the pads and upholstery. Restaurants will be “fully booked” if half the seats are occupied. Cinemas may all have to convert to LazyBoy types.
And, if in the past, someone who shouts “Fire” sends cinema goers stampeding for dear life, I suspect the new normal equivalent will be someone coughing or sneezing. Run for your life!
The new normal is upon us. We are slowly moving into and adjusting to it. But there’s one thing that will never change: the fact that disinfectants are poison.
No matter what the President of the United States says, you can’t drink or shoot up a dose of Lysol to battle the virus. That’s one part of our past that remains valid tomorrow and for days and days after.