Until a week ago, I wasn't that concerned about COVID-19 from a personal perspective. The pandemic was there, but my daily life was pretty much the same—co-workers, family, and occasionally friends, and shopping in the local mall maybe once a week was the people I engaged with. I live in a country with few people infected, the population has generally taken actions according to the guidance from the authorities, and the pandemic is on its way back.
The past week, however, I was on vacation in Germany, where the outbreak is also under control, but safety measures different. In Germany, you are required to wear a nose/mouth mask when entering shops, museums, public transportation, etc., and that suddenly scared me a lot.
For me, it was the first time I wore a mask during the pandemic. I didn't like it: the humidity, the warmth, the distance, and sometimes difficult breathing normally. Of course, these types of measures are not up to discussion. We must comply. We must protect ourselves to also protecting each other.
What scares me the most, with the pandemic, is my lack of control. I can't see who is infected. I can have the required social distance to the people around me, but I have limited options if they violate the requirements. I am not in control, and to me, that is frightening.
When I talk to people I know well - there isn't that much difference, but when talking to strangers in shops, at restaurants, on the street, I turn my head away from them or distance me further than before the pandemic. What scares me too is that authorities and also companies have different measures to the same problem. In Denmark - no mouth mask is required. In Germany, it is. Social Distance in Denmark is 1 meter, in Germany 1,5 meter, and when entering an Apple Store (God forbid), the social distance requirement is 2 meter, and you will be scanned for fever before entering a store... WHY?
It leads to uncertainty since the COVID-19 isn't any different in Denmark, Germany, or an American Apple Store.
When we were on vacation, my wife, kids, and I obviously talked about what to see. We went to an amusement park. It was terrible. The social distance and the masks were one thing, but the cafeterias were totally not scaled to handle a pandemic. Too few people to handle a lot of guests and the rides were limited only to accept half/thirds of the normal visitors, leaving endless ques and a lot of annoyed people. The next day, the kids didn't want to go to the aquarium because of the masks, requirements, and things that make these kinds of attractions almost worthless.
It scares me, to be honest. It also scares me since I can't help thinking about the long-term effects of the pandemic and social distancing to not only family attractions, but also industry events like trade-shows.
Regardless of how much we want things to return to normal - I am not sure. I couldn't help thinking of me being at drupa for nine days wearing a mask. I couldn't. It would NOT work for me.
I am NOT trying to talk physical events down in any way, but even with vaccines and cures, will things revert to "normal"? I am honestly questioning whether any can imagine a time after the pandemic where no lessons have been learned? The COVID-19 is one thing, but scientists already talk about the next potential viruses that can threaten us. Maybe the "Good Old Times" will never return, and perhaps this is an opportunity for re-thinking everything? When the financial crisis hit in 2008/2009, the recession led to innovations - like always.
I am interested to hear how the pandemic has influenced your personal and professional life. We will also start a new series of articles under the title "Analyze, Plan & Execute." The series is about why we market our products, and services, and why all the platforms like Zoom, Teams, Webinars, etc., will be a short-term phenomenon.