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)

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.

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.

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.

ColumnistCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Photo: David Dudeck
What you see …

Share your photos with Trail Times readers at editor@trailtimes.ca

A crew of 8 regional firefighters attended a house fire in Fruitvale on Friday. Photo: Trail Times
Friday house fire in Fruitvale

Three firefighters from Station 374 Trail attended; 2 from Montrose; 3 from Fruitvale

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Discipleship is indeed exacting, as are the questions that arise from reading such a text: Am I in the game God has called me to? Photo: Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash
In the Game

Am I in the game God has called me to?

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read