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

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

Just Posted

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Pen High student Myles made this Little Library in his woodworking class and it now stand in front of West Bench Elementary. (Submitted)
Penticton Secondary student makes Little Library for primary school

The Little Library has been installed in front of West Bench Elementary

The Desert Centre in Osoyoos opened on Saturday for the season. (Contributed)
Osoyoos Desert Centre opens for the season

‘Getting out in nature is one of the most important remedies [during] COVID restrictions.’

The Pencticton Vees beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-0 in the second to last game of the season on Saturday. (Pentiction Vees photo)
Penticton Vees play last game of season today at 4 p.m.

The Vees have dominated the league in wins and play the Cranbrook Bucks at 4 p.m.

Book Shop by Michael Law
There’s magic and colourful history at Penticton’s largest and oldest book store

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Okanagan township

Spallumcheen wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read